Letter to the Editor: Protect Chelatchie Prairie fisheries and wildlife, water and people from PVJR



I write in favor of protecting our wildlife at Chelatchie, Curtin Creek (Barberton) and the rest of our county from the current operator and his illegal and unpermitted activities. I have worked in the wildlife protection field for 40 years. My primary focus has been establishing habitat protection for protected species and developing management plans for Industry with state and federal partners. The key words are a “working management plan” for private industry and state and federal agencies. According to all of the agency letters that I have reviewed, Mr. Eric Temple has done little, and likely nothing, to work in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies, but rather has shunned them.

As far as we know, even now there is no current site management plan to deal with our concerns in Chelatchie regarding our elk population, the threatened and endangered anadromous fisheries, the designated and identified priority habitat, stormwater runoff, wetlands, eagle roosting sites and wildlife crossings. Mr. Temple claims he is exempt from our laws and, when asked by DOE to complete a SEPA analysis, he refused to comply with state SEPA prior to engaging in his unpermitted logging, road building and construction activities here in Chelatchie.

Also, the man cannot be trusted based upon his statements and, since he had no oversight on his activities, we have no idea whether or not his company used spray to control or eradicate vegetation, and thus we have heightened concerns that his company’s actions will negatively affect our families’ pets and livestock.

We read how Mr. Temple claims his company is environmentally sensitive but those are just canned quotes as all of the documented evidence from neighbors and involved agencies is to the contrary. The fisheries are in desperate need of protection. Mr. Temple’s actions have killed fish protected by the Endangered Species Act. Yet, somehow, the county wants to do business with this person, invest $100,000 for a consultant to plan a path forward with him as a partner, while, at all times, he has proven that he will tell the county one thing, the neighbors another and the agencies something else. Why would we spend $100,000 of taxpayer money to help him expand his sphere of influence in the county and engage in more unpermitted environmental degradation.

Please take the consideration of implementation of the FRDU off of the county’s agenda unless, and until, the county’s citizens have been shown that the county’s partnership with this operator is not just going to be one fight and one environmental disaster after another while he lines his pockets with our citizen’s money.

We residents here in Chelatchie care about our area. Mr. Temple has proven he cares not about us or our area, and the council should quit doing business with him.

Dennis Rock