We have a climate change winner

The Town of Othello, WA, basking in the irradiated glow of the Hanford Site’s nuclear Superfund site some 30 miles away, is now the World’s largest point source of french fry production. Recent Private Equity investment has greatly increased capacity.

{{ Othello produces more frozen french fries, hash browns and tater tots than anywhere else in the world — 1.5 billion pounds a year, or 15 percent of North American production. Every 10 minutes for roughly 10 hours a day, a truck ferries more than 60,000 pounds of potatoes into town.

Over the next two decades, Othello is positioned to produce even more. The town is abundant with renewable energy and sufficiently far north for its surrounding potato farms to flourish as the Earth grows hotter. Potato manufacturers are betting hundreds of millions of dollars that Othello will be a haven from climate change.

Othello has emerged as a rare winner of climate change as the world endures what may be the hottest year in recorded history. Though central Washington is essentially a desert, the government-funded Columbia Basin Project transformed the region into a world-class food basket in the 1950s by damming the Snake and Columbia Rivers and constructing a network of groundwater wells.

Then Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, blanketing the area with 6 inches of volcanic ash.

The ash formed a chemically supercharged soil that transformed local farming economies into global ones. Now, the area can grow twice as many tubers per acre than the famed potato fields of Idaho, said Dale Lathim, executive director of the Potato Growers of Washington. }}

Imagine how much growth you could get from pumping irradiated water out of the Columbia River?