ROTR should not be held on our river

To the Editor:

I have been asked why I am angry with the board of the Mateel. I am angry because our community is being betrayed, at least the community that cares about our environment, by repeating the same mistakes that were so wrong about ROTR at French’s Camp before.

Our community center will return to being one of the largest contributors of pollution to the South Fork of the Eel River by having thousands of people camping and parking their cars on the river bar for three to four days. The mitigation measures will only reduce the impact, not eliminate it.

How about cigarette smokers? Say 10 to 15% of 8,000 attendees are pack-a-day smokers, that’s sixty to eighty thousand cigarette butts on the river bar. Maybe half are properly disposed of and picked up by the cleanup crews. That’s still ten to thirty thousand little toxic bombs containing poisons such as arsenic, cyanide, nicotine and hundreds of other chemicals buried in the gravel or thrown in the river.

Start adding it all up, the petroleum products, the body lotion/sunscreen, human excrement; trash that is too small to pick up and cigarette butts and you have a very toxic cumulative effect on the aquatic life in the river.

Will you swim in the South Fork after Reggae on the River? Would you let your kids? Our rivers and oceans are declining in health because of the cumulative effects of human abuse.

Ironically the Mateel just had a concert with Steve Earle where he talked between songs about his 3-year-old who was diagnosed with autism. He said it is beyond epidemic with 1 in 48 boys being diagnosed. He said we have to stop doing things that harm the earth and start taking care of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

There was big applause to these words but that won’t change the plans for ROTR and the camping and parking on the river bar.

I said this plan to take Reggae on the River back to French’s camp was born out of envy and ambition. The core group making these plans are the rejects from People’s Production and Reggae wannabes that are now are using the Mateel Community’s money to fuel their ambitions, disregarding the risks and impacts.

I like French’s, but if you can’t do it there without polluting the river then it should not be held there. Reggae on the River at Benbow made more money for the Mateel then ever with a lot less impact on the environment.

Help our river; stop this huge impact on the South Fork by writing Water Quality, the EPA, EPIC, and the Mateel board. Let them know how you feel about the poisoning of our environment that will result from thousands of people camping and parking on the gravel river bar. Tell the Mateel board to find a way to put on the show without sacrificing our eiver. Do it now because it will get worse as the crowds get bigger.

Joe Hiney

Garberville

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