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Commentaries and editorials

Asotin City Council Voices the
Impacts of Dam Breaching

by Lauren Kahl
KLEW, November 13, 2019

Lower Granite Dam impounds Snake River waters nearly forty miles to the Idaho border. ASOTIN, WA -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Columbia Snake River Operations (CSRO). Regarding this matter, the elected officials in our region want their concerns to be heard.

According to this letter signed by Mayor Vicki Bonfield, the cumulative effects of dam breaching on this valley will be highly concentrated and impacting every aspect of our communities.

A unanimous vote from the Asotin City Council on Tuesday night approved this letter, they will be sending it to the three federal agencies.

"We have an ecosystem here that they're trying to balance with fish and the hatcheries and what not,” City of Asotin, Mayor-Elect Dwayne Paris said. "There's also another ecosystem that the rest of these governments aren't really taking into consideration, that's the people."

Salmon recovery is important but they're also concerned the federal agencies are not looking at the entire picture.

Port of Clarkston, Manager Wanda Keefer says, not looking at how breaching the dams would effect our communities is a disservice. She says, if the dams were removed, our lives would not be the same.

"Job losses, loss of economic benefit from agriculture, on to huge investments needed in waste water treatment facilities, new water facilities," Keefer said.

She says, communities like ours established along the four lower snake river dams depend on them.

"There is a very real question whether a city like the City of Asotin can continue to exist if the breaching alternative goes forward," Keefer said.

She says, residents also need to work together on this issue. There's an upcoming public meeting with Washington Governor Jay Inslee's consultants. The governor has commissioned a study about the four lower snake river dams. This meeting will be open to written public comments only. It will be held January 7, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Clarkston.

Lauren Kahl
Asotin City Council Voices the Impacts of Dam Breaching <-- Watch video at original site.
KLEW, November 13, 2019

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