I have decided to no longer participate in the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Advisory Committee meetings as an alternate member. I agree with Mr. Jason Sheehan's request that Mrs. Helen Reddout resign from the committee because of a conflict of interest, based on her involvement with the CARE lawsuit against dairies.
It was obvious to me from the second meeting, when discussions regarding livestock were brought forward that the designation should be dairy livestock and other livestock, and that the polluters should be identified and prosecuted.
I am a retired beef man and farmer, and spent 25 years in the A.I. industry covering five states. I have been in this valley since 1954. I have witnessed the dairy industry grow from 25 to 100 head, to now 1,000 cows and up.
I remember as a teenager hauling the manure out of the barn in a wheelbarrow up a plank and dumping it in a pile.
A lot has changed since then, but I have always had a lot of respect for all people in agriculture who are the original environmentalists...who could not survive without taking care of the land and the animals that they have.
I have talked with dairymen who have tried to comply with all of the rules and regulations that are in place in order to operate, yet they are continually targeted. I do not claim that everyone complies, but the very people who make these rules also enforce them, and they are the very people on this groundwater management advisory committee.
The dairymen are willing to participate trying to solve the problem of nitrate in our groundwater, however it appears they are the only ones with a target on their back.
There is a cattleman out of Dayton being sued by the Department of Ecology for polluting a mostly dry creek bed, which is now before the Washington State Supreme Court. Another rancher near Centerville is being sued regarding an H2A worker program. These are but a few, as all of agriculture is under attack! In each of these instances the farmer is presumed guilty, and then must defend himself, at his cost.
The dairy industry is the Boeing of this valley, and it should be a priority for ecology, the department of health, soil conservation and everyone to work as the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Advisory Committee was intended. I hope that happens.
/s/ Don Young, Sunnyside