Those helicopters seen over the Palouse a couple of weekends ago were not those infamous "black helicopters." According to OregonLive.com (free registration required), the flights were organized by the Washington Department of Ecology and the City of Moscow to study the water temperatures of the north and south forks of the Palouse River and Paradise Creek in Idaho and Washington.
The Federal Clean Water Act set standards that streams in the Palouse watershed stay below temperatures of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the Department of Ecology feels that the water temperature is too high, the city of Pullman could be required to cool the discharge from its sewage treatment plant.
A reader believes it was the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute that brought the original lawsuit forcing Paradise Creek (i.e. ditch) and the north and south forks of the Palouse River up to minimum standards.
This isn't a major environmental issue. Salmon have never spawned here because of Palouse Falls and rainbow trout are not native to our region. We're just talking plain old minnows and suckers. This is another example of social/environmental utopianism run amuck.
I wonder if they will fly helicopters over again to measure how hot taxpayers in Pullman are going to be when they get stuck with a multi-million dollar bill to fix the sewage plant?