Vail Followup Letter
December 21, 2015
Lt. General Thomas P. Bostick, Chief of Engineers
Headquarters U.S. Army Chief of Engineers
441 G. Street NW
Washington DC 20314-1000
Dear Lt. General Bostick:
In an October 21, 2015 letter to USACE Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. Anthony Vail, ten Pacific Northwest and national organizations representing thousands of citizens challenged statements Vail made to regional media regarding the purported value to the American public of the four lower Snake River dams. Vail’s statement was also posted prominently on the Walla Walla District website and other websites. Our letter to Vail was hard copied to you.
For more than 60 days Vail has failed to respond to us. We believe his failure to acknowledge receipt of our letter and respond to its contents reflects poorly on the Walla Walla District and hence on the U.S. Corps of Engineers and denies citizens their right to open, honest communication from government officials. Further, if Lt. Col Vail actually believes the false and misleading information he provided to the public, he may be making decisions detrimental to the USACE and to the national interest.
Our requests to Lt. Col. Vail remain as outlined in our October 21 letter. We asked that he publicly correct his false and misleading statements and live up to the truth and transparency mandate democracy holds up to government officials and agencies. Further, because it is inappropriate for a Federal agency to provide a public forum for a special interest group, we also requested that Vail immediately remove from the Walla Walla District’s website a link to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association’s document titled “Columbia Snake River System Facts.”
As stated in our letter, before the American public can make an informed and wise decision about the future of the lower Snake River dams, citizens must know the unvarnished, un-propagandized, data-verifiable facts. The Walla Walla District has an obligation to convey those facts to the public in an honest and verifiable manner.
We hereby request that you as the Commanding General of the USACE direct Lt. Col. Vail to respond to the concerns expressed in our October 21, 2015 letter.
Kevin Lewis, Idaho Rivers United, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, email@example.com
Sharon Grace, Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Mace, Save Our Wild Salmon, email@example.com
F. S. Buck Ryan, Snake River Waterkeeper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research, whaleresearch.com
Howard Garrett/Susan Berta, Orca Network, orcanetwork.org
C. Mark Rockwell, Endangered Species Coalition, email@example.com
Cindy Magnuson, Palouse Broadband, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linwood Laughy, Snake River Resurrection, email@example.com
cc: Timothy Vail, Commander
Walla Walla District U.S. Corps of Engineers
Idaho U.S. Senators and Representatives
Washington U.S. Senators and Representatives
Oregon U.S. Senators and Representatives