Washington State Lessons: Officials Must Not Trade Profits for People!

posted by Sarah N Worthy IATTWJ Member @ 10:09 AM
March 28, 2014

Oso-Washington-mudside    Rescue workers in Snohomish County, Washington, frustrated by piles of thick mud over four stories high, now estimate that some 90 additional victims lay buried under the hardening mud. Earlier this week it was believed that 176 persons were thought to be buried in the muck, but that figure was revised downward.

Experts say this horrible tragedy in Washington State could have been prevented if officials in charge of crucial decisions thought first about human safety rather than profits from real estate development, or unneeded logging.

Several factors may have contributed to these massive mud slides: 1) Higher than usual rain levels; 2) Extended logging permits; 3) Unexplained increases in building permits; and 4) Failure to inform residents of potential dangers.

In his L.A. Times article, Matt Pearce says to blame the mud slide on the rain:  “Nearby Arlington has reported 7.33 inches of rain so far this month, almost double the average for March and the area’s fourth-wettest March on article-2587893-1C8B35B200000578-357_964x663record.”

In ‘Logging One of the Causes of Giant Oso, WA Mudslide: Warning After Warning was Given,’ Ralph Maughan argues:  “Although first reports from local officials after the lethal mud slide were basically, “we had no idea, a bolt from the blue, this came out of nowhere, an Act of God,” etc., they were lying!

“Many warnings were given over the years from experts, agencies and the state. There were actions to stop and limit the logging on the slope above the slide. However, even the large preliminary slide in 2006 (clearly evident on Google Earth) did not stop all the logging.” Next investigation: political pay-offs!

Mike Baker, Ken Armstrong and Hal Bernton of Associated Press adds in ‘State Allowed Logging on Plateau Above Slope’: “The plateau above the soggy hillside that gave way Saturday has been logged for almost a century, with hundreds of acres of softwoods cut and hauled away, according to state records.

“But in recent decades, as the slope has become more unstable, scientists have increasingly challenged the timber harvests, with some even warning of possible calamity. . . one clear-cut operation is visible in aerial photographs of Saturday’s monstrous mudslide. A triangle — 7½ acres, the shape of a pie slice — can be seen atop the destruction, its tip just cutting into where the hill collapsed.”

So far investigative reporters have not uncovered just why extended building permits were issued.  Pearce writes: “One geomorphologist who has studied slides on the hill for decades, Daniel Miller, told the Seattle Times he was ‘shocked’ construction had continued in the area after a smaller 2006 mudslide on the same hill blocked the Stillaguamish River and threatened the homes in the area.”

As far as ‘failure to inform residents of potential dangers,’ Pearce insists:  “The Seattle Times has obtained a 1999 report filed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warning of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure on the hill where the mudslide happened.” But residence claim they were not warned.

The urgent point is: officials on city county, state and national levels must now make decisions with much more respect for nature’s dangerous changes in these days of Global Warming. When making decisions affecting people, such officials must learn, as Apostle Paul instructs in wholesale Christian Bibles, “ . . . whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10: 31).”

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