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Commentaries and editorials

A Losing Proposition

by Borg Hendrickson
Lewiston Tribune, July 25, 2021

"We need to breach those dams and we need to do it now,"

Graphics: Predictions show natural-origin spawner abundance for the Snake River Basin will start to drop below the quasi-extinction threshold (50 spawners) within the next five years. (Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review) (Source: Nez Perce Tribe, staff research) The suggestion by some politicians and other obfuscators that the lower Snake River’s freight transportation corridor is “environmentally sound” stinks like dead fish.

Killing off salmon and steelhead runs, once amassed in the millions, in slow-flow, heat-sink reservoirs is not environmentally sound.

Burying 140 miles of rich riparian areas, once home to 90,000 songbirds and 120,000 game birds (now disappeared), is not environmentally sound.

Repeatedly dredging the Clearwater-Snake confluence riverbed is not environmentally sound.

Paying ... millions to maintain tons of concrete and turbines at four junctures of what once was an amazing free-flowing salmon and steelhead corridor into Idaho’s pristine spawning grounds is not environmentally sound.

Indeed, bucket-feeding more millions into these aged, little-needed dams that have failed to bring promised prosperity to north central Idaho is not economically sound.

Devastating financial losses resulting from the collapse of Snake River basin salmon and steelhead to area businesses -- outfitters, restaurants, motels, gas stations, grocery stores, tackle shops -- is not economically sound. Nor are losses in Idaho sales tax receipts, income taxes and license fees. Nor is producing millions of juvenile salmon and steelhead that result in adult fish returns insufficient even to serve as hatchery brood stock.

Fifty-five professional fish scientists have stated unequivocally: Failing to breach these dams will lead to Snake River basin salmon and steelhead extinctions.

In expensive, extensive, research-based documents, the Army Corps of Engineers has twice stated that one action holds the highest probability of recovering Snake River basin salmon and steelhead: breaching the dams.


As reported in “The Week,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed HB 1 into law. This law is in contradiction to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which enshrines the “Right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The Florida law states that anyone on the street protesting unjust regulations or to promote just regulations is to be considered a rioter, which they consider to be a felony.

They also made it legal for vehicles to run over protesters who are blocking the street.

Thirty-four states have bills that would restrict demonstrations and protect drivers who hit protesters.

In other words, if people are protesting corporations polluting their drinking water or anything else, they can be thrown in jail or killed by a vehicle.

Are we legalizing murder and legislating tyranny? Is Idaho next?

Carol Schmidt

Borg Hendrickson, Moscow
A Losing Proposition
Lewiston Tribune, July 25, 2021

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