Editor’s note: Published February 23rd, 2002 in the Shoshone News-Press.
Now that everyone has submitted their comments with respect to the illegal expansion of the Bunker Hill Superfund Box to most of the Coeur d’Alene Basin, it is time to consider the next threat to the economic well-being of the entire region. That threat is posed by the TMDL rules being proposed. The term “TMDL” means Total Maximum Daily Loads and refers to daily limits of dissolved metals, suspended solids and nutrients which are transported in the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.
Apparently, both U.S. EPA and Idaho DEQ believe that limits to dissolved metals and solids can be controlled by decree. Unfortunately, Mother Nature may not agree with TMDL rules being proposed. Thomas Huxley, a 19th century scientist had a saying: “ The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
One might ask the common sense question: How did the valley form in which the South Fork flows? It is a very simple yet important question, but a definitive answer is obvious. The South Fork formed the valley itself by erosional processes. One only has to remember the last significant flooding event in February 1996 to appreciate that the river has not given up its erosive tendencies. Continue reading