AMD Tricks Won't Protect Springs

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 4, 2006

Dear Editor,
   Thank you for the cogent coverage of the proposed AMD move into the Barton Springs Watershed [“Point Austin,” News, Dec. 30]. While the Statesman refuses to tell the real story, you have made clear that all of AMD’s on-site greenbuilding tricks will do nothing to protect Barton Springs from the collateral damage of secondary development.
   While getting the secondary-effects problem right, you suggested there is no question as to the greenness of AMD’s on-site plans. This is not correct. Locating a major employer over the state’s most vulnerable aquifer can never be “sustainable” or “preservation-oriented.” In claiming “grandfather” status, AMD insists on building 40% more impervious cover than allowed under the voter-approved SOS ordinance. The weaker standards from the mid-1980s would also allow much greater “cut and fill,” aka bulldozing, of natural contours.
    On another point, our criticism of Mayor Wynn has nothing to do with seeking out villains. You write that “Wynn insists that he and city staff did everything they could” to convince AMD to locate elsewhere. But what Wynn actually did was keep AMD’s planned move secret from the community for more than four months. Then, when it was made public, Wynn kept his gag firmly in place, insisting that speaking out publicly would be symbolic and pointless.
   The silence of Wynn and the rest of the council is aiding and abetting AMD’s move, the demise of Barton Springs, and the betrayal of two-thirds of Austin voters who told our city leaders to save our springs.
Thanks and stay tuned,
Bill Bunch
Save Our Springs Alliance
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