By Carl Iobst • Guest Columnist
Over the past few weeks several individuals and one media outlet have provided Jackson County citizens with a comedic Greek Chorus concerning the Jackson County commissioners and their decision to condemn the Dillsboro Dam and the land around it. News stories that have been written about the commissioners supposed ‘exercise in futility’ have come seemingly from a corporate spin doctor’s pen. Other individuals have attempted to “shame” us for not ‘doing the right thing’ and allowing Duke to have its way and destroy a county icon and significant cultural resource.
One individual claims that the powers of a private corporation (Duke) supersede the powers of a duly elected body (Jackson County Commissioners). Pardon me; I thought that the United States was a republic and not an oligarchy. Things change I suppose, despite ‘silly little pieces of paper’ such as the Constitution of the United States.
The supposed “cornerstone” of the integrated Nantahala/Tuckaseigee 2003 Settlement Agreement was actually an “agreement” rammed though by Duke as a sop to the “stakeholders” and their own selfish agendas. This silenced the rest of the environmental community and curried favor with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Duke’s “Great Fear” is that they won’t get another half century of a licensed monopoly on hydro-electric production in Jackson County and make hundreds of millions of dollars from us, the rate-payers.
Yes, it is truly an absolute shame to see Jackson County’s limited natural and cultural resources raped once again. A huge electric power monopoly and a few selfish, self-centered ‘stakeholders’ are going to get what they want — no matter the cost. And the public be damned!
Regardless of the outcome of the FERC re-licensing process, I pity the poor souls (and there have been quite a few) who would sell themselves and the cultural resources of Jackson County for little more than, comparatively speaking, 30 pieces of silver. I can sleep at night; can they?