Posthaste Facts on the Environment #28


Environmentalists Rob Elderly Widows of Retirement Money


For seven years, Viola Allen, an ailing 72-year-old widow, has been desperately trying to sell her 8-acre property in Lynnwood, Washington so she can finally have enough money to move out of her rapidly-deteriorating home. But local environmental activists are stopping Viola from selling the land she has owned for 44 years because they claim that a tiny stream in a ditch on the property is vital for salmon, a federally-protected species. The problem: There have never been salmon in the "stream." This controversy began in 1992 when Viola and her neighbor, 82-year-old Delila Gribble, agreed to sell their combined 18-acre property to a Lynnwood housing developer. When the city and the county finally approved the project in 1996, a local environmental group, Citizens for a Natural Habitat (CNH), stepped in to stop the project. In the latest development, CNH filed a lawsuit on April 19, 1999 to block the project, insisting that the stream is important for salmon preservation. However, several studies have determined that Tunnel Creek -- which is completely dry in summer -- is incapable of supporting salmon. Delila says "If this doesn't get settled, I'm going to be in the poorhouse." Things are especially dire for Viola. She suffers from emphezyma and must stay on oxygen all day but her house is in such poor condition that every time it rains her basement floods. The resulting mildew makes her medical condition even worse.

Source: Viola Allen

Posthaste Facts on the Environment #28, October 1999 by The Environmental Policy Task Force of the National Center for Public Policy Research, E-Mail [email protected]

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