* Release from Board of Directors, New River Advocates, Inc.
Aug. 25, 2014. New River Advocates, an incorporated nonprofit attempting to stop Boone’s water intake project, has been invited to the monthly meeting of We The People of Ashe County and will present new information on the Boone Water Intake Project. The meeting will be held at Faith Fellowship Church, in Jefferson on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m.
This controversial project has captured the attention of concerned citizens all over the region. Deborah Greene of New River Advocates has created a powerful slide presentation documenting the rocky history of Town of Boone’s 10-year-long efforts to take an additional 4 million gallons of raw water from the New River. The new intake pumping station is proposed to be sited at the border of Watauga and Ashe Counties, about 23 river miles downstream from Boone’s present treatment facility. Overlapping jurisdictions of local, state and federal agencies, all of whom have statutory, regulatory and permitting powers, have collided at several points to confound the advancement of the project.
New River Advocates has discovered that the Town of Boone has attempted to run an end around the system of orderly and transparent flood mapping and review processes, as required by law. Town of Boone, in concert with hired engineering firm, W. K. Dickson, and the Watauga County Planning Department Director, has “engineered” themselves a “No-Rise Certificate,” which was issued Oct. 10, 2013. This certificate says there will be no change in the flood mapping or floodplain caused by this Intake Project. With this certification in hand, Town of Boone Mayor Andy Ball very publically, announced, last Tuesday, “The Water Tap is ON”.
Mayor Ball made his unexpected announcement, trying to put on a positive and confident game face, only after the secretive plans were ferreted out of the County Planners office, by New River Advocates investigators just a week ago. Appallingly, this certificate’s application and issuance was done without the knowledge of either Watauga County Commissioners, or Ashe County Commissioners. When New River Advocates informed Commissioners in both counties of the situation, they were dumbfounded that such a high profile project would have been hidden from their rightful review and approval.
New River Advocates’ reply to Mayor Ball is, “The water tap is NOT on. There is plenty that can be done. We intend to follow up quickly with plans already in place, to permanently STOP the ill-conceived and unnecessary intake project. The media has misunderstood New River Advocates’ stated position. While we said, “Boone could start the project, in Watauga County, if they had all of the required permits; we made it clear that we believed that Boone did not have such permits and that we could stop the intake. We will publically announce our plan once all legal aspects are in place. New River Advocates is not trying to stymie Boone’s Proposed Raw Water Intake; we are going to stop it! We can say this with 99.99% assurance. We will continue to educate the public as public outrage is paramount to our success!
See letters that the New River Advocates penned to:
Watauga County Board of Commissioners:Letter to Watauga Board of Commissioners Letter- No-Rise 8-21-2014 (1)
Ashe County Board of Commissioners: Letter to Ashe Board of Commissioners Letter- No-Rise 8-20-2014