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Dark Endeavors

The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps....

....need bid us adieu.

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 11, 1989.

The Army Corps of Engineers has approved the Two Forks Dam. This is the same legendary squadron that designated Boulder's floodway and plain and literally rules the water rights of the interior and the coasts. They are always presented in such favorable light that calling to question the competence of the institution has come to seem sacrilegious.

In reality, if an objective study were ever made of the Corps' record of decisions, many of which are fifty-fifty, the reputation of the calling of Robert E. Lee would founder. The Corps approved several dams that collapsed almost immediately in California and killed hundreds.

The Corps also has a questionable history in other areas.

In the 1950's, New England was buffeted by a stirring string of hurricanes, and my home town decided to build a hurricane dike to protect the harbor. Fine. When completed, it was drawn to our communal olfactory sense that the dam had enclosed the sewage pipe exhaust. Guess who engineered the dike?

Like many boat owners who have had their bows ripped off by helpful Coast Guard Cutters giving them a tow, the West sighs whenever the Corps of Engineers renders a verdict. Aside from the fact the Two Forks Dam will allegedly make possible growth the land and the water table cannot support, the era of this dam is long past. In the land of semi-desert, water cannot be squandered for power. It makes as much sense as making Arctic villages dependent upon solar panels.

The West is the land of sun and wind and from these must come our power. To those who think that a reservoir is the epitome of water conservation, think again. So altered are the down stream areas, dams can occasionally qualify as catastrophic. That a few more Winnebagos and their bovine contents might have another recreation area to destroy and pollute that the construction industry might profit in the short haul, that the power company might offset its nuclear joke on the Plattes' northern wing, I am not convinced the benefits of two forks even remotely contravene the horrors. This is pork barrel nonsense: unneeded and unhealthy. The fact the corps of engineers OK'd it makes me even surer.