Potlatch Spokesman Opposes Dams Ballotby Staff
Spokesman Review, April 7, 2000
Lewiston - A local advisory ballot on breaching lower Snake River dams to aid dwindling salmon and steelhead runs is ill-advised, Potlatch Corp. spokesman Frank Carroll warns.
"It sounds like a wonderful idea on its face, and I'm sure it's one people have thought about," said Carroll, whose wood-products company is the largest employer in the area.
But it is a poor way to approach policy decisions that must meet a variety of objectives, including saving salmon and leaving rural economies whole, he said.
"Those things are not handled in a vote," he said.
The Nez Perce County Commission will decide whether to act on the county Democratic Party's request that breaching the dams be included on an advisory ballot in the May 23 primary.
Carroll warns an advisory ballot brings into question whether policy should be driven by balloting or by science.
If the reason for a vote is to exclude out-of-towners, a poll would do the same thing without raising the same emotions that accompany voting, he said. When people vote on something, they expect to get something for it besides an expression of their feelings, he said.
Scott Carlton, county Republican committee chairman, said his group is firmly opposed to breaching the dams and has no problem with putting the issue on an advisory ballot.
"We think the overwhelming number of citizens of Nez Perce County are against breaching," he said.
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