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'Farewell to Auburn Dam'

August 08, 1986

Having read your editorial (July 16), "Farewell to Auburn Dam," I am prompted to paraphrase Mark Twain's famous remark to the Associated Press: your reports of its death are exaggerated.

I find it highly ironic, if not hypocritical, for the leading newspaper in Southern California to editorialize against a water conservation project in Northern California, particularly when that same newspaper would no doubt be in the vanguard of any effort to secure more water for your part of the state.

One of the many advantages of the Auburn Dam will be water storage, creating new water supplies--supplies for which the state has expressed great support. Today, a good deal of American River water is flowing, unchecked, into the Pacific. Other benefits, as you have pointed out to some degree, include irrigation water, hydroelectric power, and flood control. Auburn Dam could also enhance both fisheries and recreation.

I don't perceive Rep. Vic Fazio's (D-Sacramento) "deadline" as a death knell for the project, but as a positive impetus for needed resolution to some unanswered questions concerning the dam. Since that announcement was made, the Bureau of Reclamation has determined that the cost of construction can be reduced by $1 billion, and that numerous private firms are interested in sharing in that construction cost.

As the author of legislation to reauthorize the project and to provide for cost-sharing agreements with non-federal entities, I believe that Auburn Dam is alive and well. Your editorial was an obituary without a corpse.

NORMAN D. SHUMWAY

Member of Congress

14th District

Stockton

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