A valley united? is letter writer’s question

June 27th, 2015 1:41 am

First Posted: 7/3/2013

 On June 30 the Sunday Dispatch was kind enough to print my article, “West Pittston Levee: (BCR) Benefit to Cost Ruse”. It was quite a lengthy piece and appeared as a Guest Commentary. Because of its length I can only assume that portions of it were edited due to space constraints.

However a few salient points, (which in particular address the subject of fairness), were omitted. We at West Pittston Tomorrow feel these omitted points are crucial to our cause and argue for a levee . I hasten to add that WPT feels most grateful to the Sunday Dispatch for the opportunity to express our views in a public format.

One of the most revealing and interesting quotes WPT has uncovered regarding the original intent of the Army Corp when constructing the WV Levee System comes from sec. 45 page B-16 of the 1981 Army Corps Phase 1 General Design Memorandum, which I feel capsulizes the original intent of the designers before the whole system became muddied by parochial interests. If a future analysis and BCR is necessary, this quote deserves special attention by the Corp and in particular the attention of our elected local, state, and federal officials who were not on the scene in 1981. The Army Corps of Engineers concluded:

“All the various components of local flood protection in the Wyoming Valley function as a single, integrated hydraulic system. Economically and socially the Wyoming Valley also exists as a system and individual parts cannot be analyzed separately because of the complex interactions. In view of these close economic and social ties among the protected communities of the Wyoming Valley, plan formulation and evaluation activities proceeded as if the existing projects were one system” ( my emphasis)

It is an outrage and unfair that the taxpaying citizens of West Pittston should have to be “analyzed separately” with an isolated benefit to cost ratio (BCR) study and beg for levee protection. Our borough was historically abandoned by the WV Levee Raising Project which protects all of our neighboring downstream municipalities , each of which were not required to justify their security with a separate BCR analysis! Obviously they required no separate analysis because they are a part of that “one system”.

Last time I looked West Pittston was still considered part of the Wyoming Valley … or are we just the Valley’s spill basin?

While the rest of the Valley has enjoyed flood protection, West Pittston has experienced nothing but flood enhancement. It’s time to “right the flooded ship” … BCR or no BCR.

Bob Russin

West Pittston Tomorrow