Northwest NEWS

September 10, 2001

Editorial

Brightwater siting committee is voice of the people

I recently read a letter-to-the-editor of July 30 by Christina Morrissey. As a member of the Siting Advisory Committee (SAC), I would like the opportunity to let citizens know what we do.
   In June 2000, King County Executive Ron Sims and Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel jointly appointed members to the SAC to help in the development of policy siting criteria and to provide general oversight to the Brightwater Treatment Facilities siting process.
   Committee members were selected from all areas of the political siting area in both counties, including tribal governments, city and state governments, utility districts, business, and environmental advocacy organizations.
   We, as members, were charged with specific tasks to carry out.
   Our role included the following activities: comprehensive review of the siting criteria, evaluation of the candidate sites, process review, evaluation of the final candidate sites.
   Last spring, the Committee members had an opportunity to review and evaluate the Brightwater candidate sites using criteria that included community, environmental, financial and technical categories.
   We analyzed the six sites and discussed our insights and opinions regarding the sites.
   Members discussed red flag issues regarding various sites - issues that members believed must be resolved in order for the site to receive further consideration in the process.
   We shared our report with Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel and King County Executive Ron Sims and their staffs.
   The SAC has three meetings planned this fall to carefully review and provide oversight to the process after the final candidate sites are announced by the Executives and before the King County Council acts on the recommendations of the narrowed sites.
   The committee has sent three formal letters outlining our opinions to both Executives. Additionally, Committee members have called and communicated with Executives and the King County Council independent of the SAC.
   As a member of the SAC, I encourage the public to share concerns with SAC members, as well as local officials.
   King County and Snohomish County staff have been meeting with a number of individuals, jurisidictions, and interested parties regarding the Brightwater siting process.
   Several meetings stemmed directly from a request by the Thrashers Corner Preservation Association at the July 12 SAC meeting.
   The SAC believes the process is well thought-out and is working well. We very much realize the necessity for Brightwater and its role in protecting public health and the environment.
   We are a voice for the people in this service area and will continue to give our advice to those who will make the final decision.
   Deborah Knutson, President, Economic Development Council of Snohomish County