Bill Baker: Government not to blame in rafter recovery situation |

Bill Baker: Government not to blame in rafter recovery situation

Bill Baker
Buena Vista

I urge readers to reconsider the opinion expressed in the letter regarding rafter’s recovery at Frog Rock in light of the facts. The immediate reaction to “get an excavator and bust open the sieve” may be a reasonable one but is not, by far, the only reasonable approach.

The statement that agencies actually interfered with an efficient recovery process is completely without factual basis. The government agencies were the recovery process.

Concerns of “environmental purists” and others, including the family, were considered by the agencies involved. Consideration of public opinion is part of an appropriate response by government agencies.

The decision to build the cofferdam came after two sustained efforts by knowledgeable experts. Not a single person at the scene during any of the three recovery attempts was an unaffiliated volunteer. Everyone was a paid or unpaid government worker.

The letter is incorrect that the sieve was or will be removed. I just looked at it again today. Only the cofferdam is gone; the native materials used for its construction have been returned to their original locations.

The contention in the letter that government officials decided fish take priority over human life is untrue and preposterous. The aquatic biologist responsible for the fish habitat in the Arkansas River specifically told me, “I would never let preservation of fish habitat stand in the way of something like this.”

The attack in this letter against the government is as inaccurate as it is ill-conceived. There is no private alternative to government involvement. I, for one, would respond to the “government will screw it up” remark by pointing to this Frog Rock recovery effort as yet another example of government doing things right.

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