I found Regna Merritt's commentary interesting ("Slow down on Bull Run water treatment decision," Aug. 1, The Outlook). I am not a scientist, but I believe her op-ed contained several thinking errors.
First, it's her assumption that because a deadly crypto parasite has not yet been identified in Bull Run Reservoir it isn't there. It's a big reservoir and I'm sure it hasn't been sampled in it's entirety, and it has not been absolutely proven it isn't present.
Then there is the "100 year" thing. I've been living here for 65 years, my family since 1886, and I'm here to tell you that the tri-county area has exploded in human population.
I remember farms, dairies and open fields that are now malls, shopping centers and scores of homes. That means the population is nothing like it was 100 years ago. And to believe that of all those hundreds of thousands of people that none of them have visited Bull Run without permission is rather naive.
Then too there's the idea that prevention is not a good idea. Wear a seat belt? Why, the chances of an accident are minimal. Do you have home, life and car insurance? Same thing except the state has determined you can't drive on the roads if you don't insure yourself as protection for you and anyone else you might hit. Prevention in the face of saving potential lives is what modern society is all about.
Then we have the filtration systems you mentioned in Milwaukee, Wis. May I point out that you stated that those filtering systems were overwhelmed by human and animal waste, which you specifically stated can never be a problem with Bull Run water, as our government prohibits human and domestic animal entry into the watershed?
So, as those elements cannot be a problem, filtering the water shouldn't be difficult. And also, anything installed can be removed.
But isn't the issue protecting people?
I won't believe people have not entered the Bull Run Watershed against any prohibition. And though not being a scientist, I do know something about how easy it is to pollute or contaminate a stream, which runs into a larger water source, like Bull Run.
I also know it only takes a single person to contaminate thousands. And I also know that to believe "It hasn't happened yet" is a rather poor excuse for not taking measures to protect local communities — those that tap into Bull Run water — from deadly organisms.
Grateful for support from Monnes Anderson
I'm extremely grateful that Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson not only voted in favor of House Bill 3391, but also championed it throughout this legislative session. We are fortunate to have someone as passionate as her representing our community.
(HB 3391 requires health benefit plan coverage of specified health care services, drugs, devices, products and procedures related to reproductive health.)
Access to reproductive health care is critical for the health and economic success of all Oregonians. Thousands of more Oregonians can now decide if and when we have children based on what's best for us and our family's circumstances.
We also now have the assurance that our state can provide the care we need for our families to succeed in our communities.
I am grateful to live in the first state to require coverage — with no cost-sharing — of the entire list of preventive health services for women under the Affordable Care Act. Oregonians need access to quality medical care to prevent future health risks before they begin. Prevention also reduces health care costs, which then improves our state's economy at large. I can only hope that more states follow our lead, especially given the concerning message coming out of Washington, D.C.
I believe so much in the Reproductive Health Equity Act, and I'm beyond glad to know that Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson did, too.