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Commentaries and editorials

Andrus Brings a Warning

by Sylvia Harrell
Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 20, 1975

"I want to point out that the costs of this system have been horrendous,
both in dollars and in costs to our natural resources."

-- Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus

Cartoon pokes criticism at the upcoming Dedication of the Lower Snake River dams, heavily promoted by the Army Corps of Engineers. Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus Thursday told the Army Corps of Engineer and Congress they must do more to end fish losses caused by the Lower Snake River dams.

"We will not settle for other than a full solution to this problem." Andrus said as he dedicated Lower Granite Lock and Dam 32 miles west of here.

But a Corps general told the crowd of 700, including three anti-dam pickets, that the dam had been engineered to minimize steelhead and salmon losses.

"Before I accept this structure," Andrus said, "I want to point out that the costs of this system have been horrendous, both in dollars and in costs to our natural resources."

Andrus spoke at ceremonies for the third Lower Snake structure to be dedicated this week. The Little Goose and Lower Monumental dams, farther downstream, were dedicated Wednesday.

Departing from a prepared text lauding the dams, Andrus looked at the picketers from Moscow and said, "We have some problems that are indeed solvable, not something we should wring our hands about, but something we should do something about. But we will not settle for other than a full solution to this problem."

One sign carried by the pickets said, "The Corps goes free, the Snake River is dead." Another read, "Damn the Corps, not the rivers." Another sign protested the destruction of orchards by the slackwater behind the reservoirs that has made Lewiston, 32 miles upstream from Lower Granite Dam., Idaho's only seaport.

When dam boosters were eyeing economic benefits from the dams years ago, they believed that migratory fish "would be given ladders to which they could climb." Andrus said. "We wanted to believe that so we did. It hasn't turned out exactly that way."

We are having troubles solving all of the problems of migration," he continued. "We must insist that the necessary effort be made to preserve the priceless resource. The job can and must be done.

"Today, right here at Lower Granite Dam, I charge the Congress of the United States and the Corps of Army Engineers with the responsibility of fulfilling this, the other part of this magnificent system.

"So, with that in mind, it is my pleasure to accept, on behalf of the citizens of the Pacific Northwest, this structure."

Then, calling the attention of his audience to the power the opening spillways represented, he added: "And yes, general, I do, in the name of the people of this region, accept this structure."

Andrus also called for a better highway system to extend the benefits of the waterway to the states of Idaho and Montana.

"An integrated, fully developed transportation system with all modes of transportation represented strengthens the economy and emphasizes the ties which bind this region together," he said.

Brig. Gen. Richard M. Connell, corps south Pacific division engineer from San Francisco, observed that man is faced with the difficult problem of making wise choices between meeting the needs of people and protecting natural resources. "The project has achieved a good balance. I believe the public good has been well-served," he said.

The third of three 135 megawatt generators in Lower Granite's powerhouse will begin feeding electricity into the Bonneville Power Administration network in July.

"In view of the nation's energy shortage, this additional power has never been more appreciated," Connell said.

Connell, a Walla Walla Wash., disTrict engineer for three of the years the dam was under construction, said the dam was the first in the Northwest with spillway flip lips, special structures to reduce fish mortality from nitrogen supersaturation, and a separate intake to allow young downstream migrating fish safe passage through the dam.

Donald K. Stager, San Francisco, a Pullman resident when he was Lower Granite project manager for Guy F Atkinson Co. who now is a vice president of the construction firm, served as master of ceremonies.

Stager recalled that when he first visited the damsite in 1969, he found it "only an empty cofferdam full of expectations." He referred to the years the project lay idle after the first preliminary contract was awarded in 1965 until the main contract was awarded in 1970.

The final dedication ceremonies of the week are slated this morning when the Port of Lewiston and its sister ports of Whitman and Clarkston in Washington state are dedicated at 10 at Lewiston Roundup Park.

Sylvia Harrell
Dedication: Andrus Brings a Warning
Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 20, 1975

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