Letters to the editor for Friday, April 18, 2014 | NevadaAppeal.com

Letters to the editor for Friday, April 18, 2014

Supreme Court makes mess of nation’s Clean Water Act

It was good to read about the EPA’s recent ruling clarifying what bodies of water should be included under the Clean Water Act. While the Act has been successful in cleaning up toxic streams, rivers and wetlands across America since 1972, in recent years water policy has become muddied with confusing and arbitrary decisions by the Supreme Court. These decisions limited protections to just “navigable” waters, making the Clean Water Act much less effective and obviously not its original intent.

As an organic farmer in one of the country’s driest states, I count on clean, abundant water for my livelihood. I see firsthand every day how what happens to our seasonal and feeder streams and rivers affect the larger bodies of water they’re connected to. With EPA’s ruling and new FDA food safety regulations for testing farm water, we will be have cleaner, safer drinking water and greater certainty for agriculture and industry.

All the heated rhetoric about how EPA’s new ruling might negatively impact farmers is a lot of hot air, since all the existing exclusions for ranchers and farmers using irrigation ditches, stock ponds and the like will continue as before.

Marcia Litsinger


Typescript explains setting of journal

On May 29, 1851, pioneer Lucena Parsons reported 200 miners at Gold Cañon (Dayton), two weeks before John Reese passed through to settle Mormon Station (Genoa). In the Appeal on March 29, 2014, Kurt Hildebrand reported that Heidi Englund uses 1856 Grosh Brothers’ letters and Stan Paher questions the transcription of Parsons’ 1850-1851 journal to question Dayton’s claim as Nevada’s first permanent non-native settlement.

At the request of her family, Parsons’ journal was typed by respected newswoman Elene (Helen) Wilbur and her daughter, Elizabeth. The typescript includes an introduction and afterword explaining the journal’s setting and attesting to the transcription accuracy. Elizabeth, who graduated in history from Stanford University in 1927, donated a carbon copy to Stanford’s Department of Special Collections in 1928. To claim historical accuracy for an altered text would have been a serious violation of the Stanford Honor Code, something her son verifies Elizabeth never would have done.

In 1850 Indiana newspapers reported “large numbers of people were digging” for gold on the Carson River in the “lower Carson Valley,” “with the intention of forming a settlement and working the mines.” By 1853 articles described many miners working through the winter in Gold Cañon. By 1854 and throughout the decade, the Placerville Mountain Democrat reported an active and continuous settlement at Gold Cañon. By 1859 the miners in “Gold Cañon Flat” were described as mostly “Chinamen.” The Grosh Brothers not mentioning the settlement in 1856 is only a curiosity.

Linda L. Clements