Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Salt, Snow, and Seattle

So I call my father yesterday to see how he has been coping with all the snow in Seattle. Due to global warming(?), Seattle has experienced a full week of snow and freezing temperatures, the likes of which it has not seen in decades. My father told me that he basically ran out of food yesterday, as he has been stuck at home because the city has done a lousy job of clearing the streets. He had no choice but to drive to the local supermarket even though there was still plenty of ice, because he needed some food.

Why has it taken a week for the city to clear major arterials of snow? It wasn't because they were unprepared rather, the City of Seattle refuses to use salt to clear snowy and icy roads. Why you ask? Because Seattle is the hub of the environmental movement, and the greens are worried about what salt runoff would do to Puget Sound(which happens to be salt water.)

According to an article in the Seattle Times: " The icy streets are the result of Seattle's refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.
"If we were using salt, you'd see patches of bare road because salt is very effective," Wiggins said. "We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound."
By ruling out salt and some of the chemicals routinely used by snowbound cities, Seattle has embraced a less-effective strategy for clearing roads, namely sand sprinkled on top of snowpack along major arterials, and a chemical de-icer that is effective when temperatures are below 32 degrees."

It's not as if Seattle is like Minneapolis or some other city which is hit with snow all the time. It rarely snows more than once or twice a winter. How could a little salt cause any environmental damage? Is it worth citizens being stuck at home, and elderly potentially starving or freezing to death because of some ridiculous environmental claim? What could a little salt possibly do to the environment?

I think that the end of the article makes it clear: " Although the city had plowed 29 of its 36 major routes, "nothing is clear," Kuck said late Monday afternoon. "This is a difficult and challenging situation that's going to take us a long time to recover from."
Wiggins, of Seattle's transportation department, said the city's 27 trucks had plowed and sanded 100 percent of Seattle's main roads, and were going back for second and third passes.
"It's tough going. I won't argue with you on that," he said. But here in Seattle, "we're sensitive about everything we do that impacts the environment."

Maybe that's the problem with the environmental movement. They mean well, but have no perspective. They are so 'sensitive to the environment' that they have lost common sense!

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