Logging & Dams

Tom McClintock believes in 1) logging, and 2) dams. He’s the ideal Nineteenth Century guy; cutting down trees and damming rivers worked for California in 1880 so what could be wrong with it now?

Where to start.  For openers, somebody needs to tell him that things have changed. Even just thirty odd years ago there were still 130 lumber mills in California —  there are a handful now, most of them north of Sacramento. I know of just one in this Congressional District. The big saw mill that was down the road from me when I moved to the Motherlode is a Vons shopping mall now.  I don’t find the mall picturesque, but I do know the lumber mill’s not coming back.  Actually the mall employs way more people than the mill ever did, and, ugly as it is, it’s more useful to the community.

As for dams, McClintock should count us lucky for the ones we have, and quit dreaming about Pat Brown. The era of building large water projects — Democrat Pat Brown’s time — is over. McClintock ought to know that, since the last important dam built in the US was New Melones on the Stanislaus, and that was 40 plus years ago. Oh, and by the way, New Melones has frequently been less than full because, as the Manteca Bulletin reported,  it was overbuilt for the historic precipitation from the Stanislaus River water basin. Oops.

McClintock could read the essential California Water Blog and catch up: there is simply no serious dam proposal in California now that will survive even brief examination.  They are all 1) really expensive, 2) legal and political nightmares, and 3) produce tiny amounts of (again) expensive water, which, more than likely would already be spoken for.

Things change. In 1970, when the last big dam in the US was built at New Melones, gasoline sold for $.36 a gallon.


Tom DeVries and Donald Trump are retired on pension from the same labor union.  Other than that, however….    tom4sierra@gmail.com