Letters to the Editor

Letter: Is ag water really a farm subsidy?

At the height of the Second World War, the workers of the Hanford Engineering Works wanted to make a difference in the war effort, and an idea formed. They would each give one day’s pay to purchase a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, the kind that most needed at that time in the war. The bomber was named “Day’s Pay.”

A dream that had begun at around that same time is now bearing the fruit of unintended consequences and costs. The Columbia Basin Irrigation Project had promised to irrigate over a million acres; some farmers have never received any water but were allowed to drill wells. These wells have been drilled deeper and deeper and now endanger the water supplies of a number of towns. At first our elected officials continued to assure these farmers that water from the Columbia River would still be coming. It’s been a political nightmare and is now approaching an environmental catastrophe. Depending on what you read, the situation varies in description from, “subsidies for farmers” to “saving the Odessa Aquafer.” If you believe the “subsidies for farmers” interpretation, then everything we enjoy from electricity from dams to our highway system is nothing more than “subsidies.”

Dave Perri, Pasco

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