Baird: Modify summer dam spillsby Columbian staff
The Columbian, October 15, 2004
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, opted not to sign a letter urging President Bush to revise salmon recovery plans because the three-term congressman believes it makes sense to modify summer dam spills to cut electricity rates.
"Everybody knows that I am absolutely committed to salmon recovery; that should not be in question," Baird said in a phone interview.
"As I read the letter, it was unclear to me whether the letter was going to imply there should be no changes in that summer spills regiment."
The National Marine Fisheries Service last summer approved a plan by federal dam managers to reduce the amount of water spilled for juvenile salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Biologists generally believe diverting water away from dam turbines and across spillways is a safer way to propel juvenile salmon toward the ocean.
Reducing spills would allow the Bonneville Power Administration to generate additional revenue, potentially cutting wholesale electricity rates.
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