Anders’ column was based on old, flawed data | SierraSun.com
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Anders’ column was based on old, flawed data

Tom Alden, Guest columnist

I was sorry to see in last week’s Sierra Sun, a guest column from a Dr. Russell Anders concerning personal watercraft on Donner Lake, in light of the seriousness and importance of this issue and just after the City Council’s public workshop on personal watercraft,

I would have expected your paper to check on the facts and the references used by Anders before printing it, especially when giving it a guest column title.

The “data” and “facts” he states are “correct” using the sources he uses. At this time it is too short a notice to write an annotated analysis to his article.

Therefore I’ll generalize what I believe are his sources, and repute what is stated as best I can. The studies are old (up to 25 years old), from a warm water lake study, a Federal EPA commissioned study that they then rejected (I believe because it was flawed), from a lake in Switzerland and a study done by the Marine Manufactures Association.

Furthermore they were all done before MTBE came on the scene. Anders referenced no sources, ignored other studies and it appears in some cases picked out only what he wanted from the studies; such as saying “The average engine contributes 2.5 percent of its fuel to the water” when the study I think he used says 2.5 percent to 50 percent. I will have copies of the studies he used within the week. I could, or better yet someone with more background then myself, could say more about what he used and didn’t use and the relevance of these studies to Donner Lake.

What I want our elected officials on the City Council to do is look at the recent studies done on Lake Tahoe and our own Donner Lake and draw conclusions from them. I have these studies including a 1997 Lake Tahoe study done on zooplankton and fish showing the harm done to them by gasoline additives (not even considering MTBE) from unburned fuel. The data that the TRAP used is not flawed. Only when compared to studies like I generalized above and when selectively used, does it look different. I have made these studies available to the City Council. The facts relevant to Donner Lake are in front of them. Two very important things make Donner different – It is our drinking water for lake residents and it is a small lake in an amphitheater setting. The lake is already over impacted on summer weekends as is.

With the ban on Tahoe, I’m concerned about the increased use and pollution that could occur to Donner – damage that overtime could be irreversible. I strongly urge the City Council to act at their very next meeting June 3 – and put into effect this summer an emergency ban on all 2-cycle PWCs and the larger noisier and more dangerous 4-cycle models. I would like to encourage Truckee residents to write the Sierra Sun with copies to the City Council saying what you think needs to be done in the long term to protect and enhance our precious resource – Donner Lake.

Tom Alden is a Donner Lake resident.


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