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Reviving dam appallingly wasteful

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A recent Journal article (Thursday, Dec. 2) talked about how Tom McClintock is going to chair the House water and power subcommittee and could then rejuvenate the Auburn Dam project. In a year when Republican/tea party success has been based on smaller and cheaper government, I am appalled that he would even consider such a waste of taxpayer money. Let’s look at the cost: $10 billion (for starters); more concrete than the Hoover Dam on a river a tenth the size of the Colorado River; probably over 20 years of delays with new environmental impact work, etc.; and forced earthquake insurance and retrofits for everyone in greater Auburn. Let’s look at the benefits: flood control for a 200-year flood? More than 80 percent of that threat comes from the Sacramento River, our dam would have almost no impact on it. Hydropower? SMUD is already on record as refusing to buy it since it wouldn’t be available during summer peak times. Recreation? In the heat of August when the 600-foot lake is only 300 feet deep for flood control, the canyon walls will be nothing but stinking mud. Will this attract vacationers? We already have the Auburn State Recreation Area with over a million visitors a year — this will be destroyed. Mr. McClintock — your predecessor, John Doolittle, couldn’t build the dam in 18 years of trying. Why should you pick up this “piece of pork” from him especially in our current economic climate? Will the tea party vote you out next time for such wastefulness? Laird Thompson, Ph.D., geologist, Auburn