As I sit in my house and watch Mt. Woolard go by in the back of gravel trucks, I wonder why our county government is so reactionary, backward and fearful when we have such capacity to be innovative? Because of where we have chosen to live, where we are lucky enough to live — we are called to be visionary. We have an ethical responsibility to the land we live on.
Why is so much effort being put into carbon burning for the sake of more carbon burning? It seems that the San Juan County Public Works Department is moving Mt. Woolard, in gravel form, to build up two miles of roadbed. Machines are burning carbon to gather the stone (mining of a commonwealth), more carbon is burned breaking up the rock and sorting it. Then it is loaded with a carbon-burning machine onto a carbon-burning dump truck, driven through forest resource and agricultural resource-zoned lands and dumped near wetlands, lambing sheep, hatching chickens and turkeys, valuable pasture lands, eagle nests and our neighbors’ homes. All of this to promote more carbon-burning vehicle traffic.
We live at ground zero for the orca whale extinction. I get mailers asking for donations to the Friends of the San Juan and the SeaDoc Society expressing how important our natural environment is. Unfortunately, the very clear message that all of our summer visitors and residents are getting is: drive your car. Could the same money and effort have been spent to purchase a small fleet of electric cars for the island? This is one idea to reduce the need for bigger roads and to burn less fossil fuel.
Also, this federally funded project is paying an off-island, out-of-county contractor and laborers to complete the work. The quarry that all the rock is coming from is owned by a company based out of La Connor. So, our people and environment are being impacted while the financial benefit goes out of our county.
I have always supported bike paths on our roads. Everyone should have a safe way to travel along the county right of way. But this project is beyond the size and scale of any other road project on Orcas and is heading in the wrong direction.