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LETTERS / Questions on Boone Water Intake After Council Meeting With Unsuccessful Motion to Suspend Project

Dear Editor,

As you well know, I was in attendance at this past Thursday’s Boone Town Council meeting on Oct. 23 and listened with interest as the issue of the water intake was discussed relative to the motion introduced by Councilwoman Pena to suspend activity on the intake. My public comment prior to the discussion dealt with the town’s characterization of those opposed to the project as uninformed and misguided. This characterization has been well documented over the past in various council and Water Use Committee meetings as well as blog comments from town council members and Water Use Committee members. While putting forth that characterization of the opposition, the town itself continues to rely on old, outdated studies and questionable information at best to justify moving forward.  As I was under a limited time for the public comments segment, I took the time to only list one example of such questionable, misleading and factually challenged information. That factually challenged information was the comments made by the town manager at the Westwood School meeting on 6/23/2009, when in response to a question there as to why water sharing was not an option to partially meet the town’s future needs, he responded that ASU was already at 60% of their 2 MGD capacity so it was not possible.  I have analyzed the ASU Local Water Supply plans, and that statement is not factual and in fact, not even close to what the ASU actual and projected future usage was then and now… period.

As the council was discussing the intake motion, Mr. Brantz made another comment relative to the ASU water option. That comment was to the effect that we all know that the state or state law will not allow ASU to share water with the town.  I am still trying to research to find a state law that would prohibit such water sharing.  In fact I doubt very seriously that one exists, especially since the state has allowed and there already exists an interconnect between the two systems, currently for emergency purposes.  I am asking by way of this e-mail for Mr. Brantz to please respond and provide the state law or regulation that would prohibit such water sharing between the town and ASU that would validate his statement at the town council meeting. Otherwise, it is just another factually challenged statement pulled out of the air to deflect from the real fact that the town does not want to utilize ASU’s water supply as a partial option and never sat down in serious negotiations to see if it was really possible. If there were such actual meetings, please provide  the meeting dates, meeting attendees, and the meeting notes for the public record. This all goes hand in hand with a question I have asked Mr. Ball, Mr. David previously and which has never been answered?  WHY did the town’s engineer’s use a 2002 ASU LWSP to rule out this option when there were 6 more years of plans available prior to the development and release of the EA in 2009?  Why use an old outdated plan that had already been shown to be inaccurate.

Also in the discussion, Ms. Mason made the comment when talking about river impairments that the river was impaired in many places, including Ashe County. Once again, I will ask Ms. Mason to provide the source of the information supporting that statement. The DWQ list of impaired waters listed the South Fork of the New as impaired in two places, both in or near the town of Boone. For Ashe County that report listed 5 streams or creeks that were impaired, with all being tributaries to the North Fork. As best as I can determine, nowhere did it list anywhere in Ashe County as being a source of impairment of the South Fork where the town of Boone wants to build it’s proposed intake. Again, the discussion was about the South Fork and the proposed intake, so where Ms. Mason is the data to support your factual statement?  Ms. Mason also made the statement that the town has gone through all the steps of the permitting process?  Well, technically that may be correct, but it does not address the issue as to why the town felt the need to bypass the CLOMR process when the Ashe County Board refused to sign that part of the “permitting process.” In a recent newspaper article referring to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners opposition to the Boone intake, Ms. Mason was quoted as saying she did not know “they felt that way.”  Really? Even after the Ashe County Board refused to sign the FEMA MT2 Form 1 Flood Mapping change form and sent a list of their concerns and issues to FEMA/DPS in their refusal letter back in January of 2013. How is it that you could not know the opposition by the Ashe County Board to that part of the permitting process?

Finally, in the comments, Mr. Young was asked to provide some information relative to contractual agreements.  In his response he started by saying that he hesitated to provide information as some chose to use that against him. I can only assume that was based my on my public comments challenging his 60% statement at the Westwood meeting. Well, if you have factual information based on accurate data you should not be hesitant to give out that information publicly and if challenged present your facts in support.  However, if that information is not factually based it should not be presented as fact, and if it is, then yes, it will be challenged.

I will await your response of the requested documentation of the facts noted above as they were presented in the discussion Thursday night.

Respectfully submitted,

Frank Packard
Todd, N.C.