Our new, environmentally ignorant president (at the urging of his corporate handlers) has instigated a war against the city of Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County. The new White House and the GOP Congress is seriously defunding (if not actually eliminating) the Environmental Protection Agency. Surely an environmental disaster for the city of Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County is just around the corner.
I suspect many readers will think “good riddance” to a federal agency they don’t need or want in North Idaho. A word of caution. The loss of the EPA funds and experts will mean the eventual destruction of Lake Coeur d’Alene as we know it. If you value the lake you know (or should know) how polluted the lake bottom sediments are with historic mine tailings from the Silver Valley — lead, arsenic and zinc. Millions and millions of tons of these toxic heavy metals line the lake-bottom sediments and miles of the Cd’A River as well. Decades of work and many millions of dollars spent on cleanup of the upstream sources of this lake-killing pollution will be wasted without the continued leadership of the EPA and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
The Idaho Department of Environment Quality will be powerless if it is left alone in any attempt to manage this huge, multi-decade water quality program; there are good DEQ technical professionals here in Cd’A, but without sustained federal funds and serious political support (little if any of this from Boise or the governor), the CDA LAKE MANAGEMENT PLAN will become just another worthless paper plan.
A green, dirty, unhealthy lake filled with fish that you shouldn’t eat is on the horizon. You lakeshore residents with your million-dollar homes can expect significant property value devaluations as the lake deteriorates and gains a reputation as an ugly, unsafe, lead-contaminated cesspool. The world-class Cd’A Resort should start planning on a future of falling tourist bookings. The city of Cd’A and downtown businesses will also suffer from a dirty lake stigma.
The entire local community depends on a clean, beautiful lake and lakeshore. As others have said, this lake is our local “jewel.” Efforts by the new administration to castrate or kill the EPA is the very worst action our community can sustain.
Critics who hate the EPA and applaud the Trump adminstration’s efforts must realize the implications to our community. The costs to everyone, if the lake protection and cleanup efforts die, are significant in both economic and living standards. If Coeur d’Alene is stripped of EPA leadership on this critical water quality program, you can count on a down-trending economy here in Kootenai County. Any owner of a multi-million dollar “trophy home” on or near the lakeshore should seriously consider hanging out a “for sale” sign. Your equity will fall fast, I predict; get out while you can! And don’t forget to send a “thank you” note to your new POTUS, and the GOP leadership you keep sending back to Washington.
Where are the local civic leaders on this? What, if anything, are the Chamber of Commerce, the Cd’A mayor and city council, the Post Falls mayor and city council, the Kootenai County commissioners doing to stop this disaster?
How about our Spokane neighbors who share Lake Cd’A water through the Spokane River that flows through downtown; polluted lake water means polluted water in the river. Is ANYONE concerned? Are they aware? Do they care? What about the homeowners, boaters and fishermen?
Is anyone awake out there?
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Ed Javorka is a Hayden resident.