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No decision made on Sunset Falls

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Regarding the Tuesday letter, "Teegarden needed for new vision": What may divide November's PUD race, judging by this letter to the editor, is the Sunset Falls small hydro project, which the PUD is now exploring. The writer makes several mistakes, beginning with, "Ms. Vaughn supports the Sunset Falls Dam because she has neither the skill set nor the drive to set the PUD on a course of sustainability." There has been no decision by Ms. Vaughn, Ms. Olson, or myself. Besides, what does one's ultimate preference have to do with a commissioner's "skill set"?
The writer has not been paying attention to the PUD. We've established annual records for energy conservation acquisition and pioneered development of solar energy, tidal power, and geothermal. The utility recently completed two small hydroelectric facilities that will bring sustainable power for years to come.
As for the Sunset Falls project, the writer claims that " will reduce the river to a trickle, destroying one of the last wild rivers in North America..." If the project is approved then completed, I would defy any observer to notice its effects on river flows.
The writer asserts that the proposed project "is hugely expensive." Small hydro, including the proposed Sunset Falls project, costs less than other renewable resources.
While I have no doubt, based on both Mr. Teegarden's declarations and the sentiments of his supporters, that he would vote against the project should he be elected, it is at least unfair, and certainly premature, to cast Ms. Vaughn as a supporter. I should add that however the board eventually decides, it will do so on the basis of actual facts and figures and not on unfounded hyperbole.
Dave Aldrich
Snohomish County PUD Commissioner

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