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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 22, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Landslides

Learn from your mistakes

Landslides will continue.

While the worst of the winter storms may be behind us, we should take this time to reflect on the ways these disasters could be prevented. On July 13, The Seattle Times reported reasons for the landslides in Lewis County that caused 3,000 residents to live without clean tap water for three months [“Landslides,” page one]. The article stated that the slides could have been prevented if the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) actually did its job and surveyed slide risks.

DNR would have found that many sites Weyerhaeuser was clear-cutting were at an extreme risk of causing a landslide. They didn’t learn from their mistakes. Here we are again, a year later, with similar problems, including flooding, landslides and more than $100 million in public and private property damage.

Why did DNR not respond to such an oversight? I have one hypothesis: It is because state forest-trust lands have provided more than $4.5 billion in trust revenue since 1970. This money pays for schools, hospitals and other public services.

Point blank: We need the money and Weyerhaeuser gives it. However, the risks should be weighed.

Will the damage clear-cutting caused really be outweighed by monetary benefits? I think not, but the state seems to think differently.

— Cassandra Little, Seattle

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