MD: Letter to Governor Glendening (July, 2001)

Posted: 07/09/2001
by Jason Robertson

See the sample letter at the bottom of American Whitewater's letter to the Governor

PARRIS N. GLENDENING
State House
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-974-3901
410-974-3275 (Fax)
July 9, 2001
governor@gov.state.md.us

Dear Governor Glendening,

I am writing to you in on behalf of American Whitewater in my official capacity as Access Director.

I am also a homeowner in Takoma Park, a registered voter in Montgomery County, and a Garrett County landowner. The issues that I am bringing to your attention are of great personal importance to me.

I have attached letters from 120 boaters in Maryland and neighboring states asking you to look into:

1) why the Upper Potomac River Commission (UPRC) failed to hold scheduled recreational whitewater releases on the Savage River in September 2000; 2) why the UPRC as a semi-public institution is unwilling to meet with American Whitewater or speak directly with our representatives; and 3) facilitating a meeting between American Whitewater, the UPRC, and your staff to discuss future water management issues on the Savage River in 2001 and beyond.

The UPRC's failure to release water for recreation in 2000 was not justifiable:

1) Maryland's State Department of the Environment found there would be "negligible" environmental effects; 2) Garrett County's Commissioners supported the proposed releases based on economic benefits; 3) the Army Corps reported that the reservoir had more water than usual for the time of year (85% vs. 65% full); 4) Maryland's Department of the Environment found that the UPRC's written objections to the requested releases were without merit; 5) safety, insurance, and debris concerns were addressed by volunteers prior to the scheduled releases; 6) MDE found that Westernport's water would not be impacted; and 7) whitewater recreation is specifically identified by Congress as a project purpose.

Ideally, the UPRC would agree to regularly schedule recreational whitewater releases (1000 cfs) on the second weekend of each month between April and October if sufficient water is available. This would benefit the boating community, provide a stable tourism base in Garrett County, meet the UPRC's legal obligations, compliment the Upper Youghioheny release schedule, facilitate training by Olympic contenders, protect and restore the natural stream channel impacted by the dam, and facilitate Baltimore's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

As a public institution, the UPRC staff and commissioners are tasked with representing the best interests of Maryland's residents, yet the UPRC has proven both uncooperative and unresponsive to the public. The UPRC's actions have not been appropriate and reflect poorly on Maryland's Department of the Environment and other partners who help manage the Savage River. Hence our decision to ask for your personal assistance as the Governor. Please look into this matter and call me at 301-589-9453 to discuss this issue and set up a meeting with the UPRC.

Sincerely,

{SIGNED}

Jason Robertson
Access Director
American Whitewater

SAMPLE LETTER TO GOVERNOR GLENDENING

PARRIS N. GLENDENING
State House
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-974-3901
410-974-3275 (Fax)
July 9, 2001
governor@gov.state.md.us

Dear Governor Glendening,

The Upper Potomac River Commission's (UPRC) failure to hold scheduled recreational whitewater releases on the Savage River in September 2000 and their unwillingness to meet with American Whitewater and other representatives of Maryland's boating community is of great personal concern.

Congress specifically identified whitewater recreation on the Savage River as a project purpose. However, the UPRC places numerous demands on the public for obtaining these mandated releases before discharging their own legally mandated duties. As a public institution, the UPRC staff and commissioners are tasked with representing the best interests of Maryland's residents, yet the UPRC has proven both uncooperative and unresponsive to the public.

The decision not to release water for whitewater recreation in 2000 is not easily understood or justified: 1) Maryland's State Department of the Environment found there would be "negligible" environmental effects; 2) Garrett County's Commissioners supported the proposed releases based on economic benefits; 3) the Army Corps reported that the reservoir had more water than usual for the time of year (85% vs. 65% full); 4) Maryland's Department of the Environment found that the UPRC's written objections to the requested releases were without merit; 5) safety, insurance, and debris concerns were addressed by volunteers prior to the scheduled releases; and 6) whitewater recreation is specifically identified by law as one of four project purposes.

In fact, recognizing the value of whitewater releases to the local economy, the Board of Garrett County Commissioners supported the 2000 whitewater release application "based on benefits to recreation and tourism in Garrett County, and because of the abundance of water in the Savage Reservoir."

Reliable access to recreational flows on the Savage is of great personal importance to me. Please look into this matter and encourage the UPRC to work in cooperation with American Whitewater in seeking to: 1) understand why the request for whitewater releases on the Savage River for the year 2000 was not approved or implemented; and 2) to establish a cooperative framework allowing whitewater boaters to enjoy dependably scheduled whitewater releases in the coming years, including 2001.

Ideally, the UPRC would agree to regularly schedule recreational whitewater releases (1000 cfs) on the second weekend of each month between April and October if sufficient water is available. This would benefit the boating community, provide a stable tourism base in Garrett County, meet the UPRC's legal obligations, and facilitate training by Olympic contenders, protect and restore the natural stream channel impacted by the dam, and facilitate Baltimore's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Sincerely,

Name:
_____________________________

Phone:
_________________

Address:
_____________________________
_____________________________

Jason Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349