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Commentaries and editorials

Dam Removal Still Best Option

by Pat Ford
Roundtable, Spokesman Review, October 18, 2002

In response to Robert Stokes' commentary, "Dam removal advocates wrong, but here to stay" (Guest column, Oct. 7), lower Snake River dam removal stays alive for one major reason: The citizens of the Northwest and taxpayers from across the nation demand the recovery of salmon, a once-abundant economic stalwart and regional icon.

Whether or not you agree with RAND's economic models, their study buries the myth that dam removal will lead to economic disaster in the Northwest. This is true even though RAND's report was based on the very figures from the Army Corps of Engineers that Mr. Stokes referenced. Save Our Wild Salmon and others believe the Corps' estimates drastically underrepresent the economic benefits of dam removal while artificially inflating the costs. So, the news could be even better than RAND suggests.

We agree that a cost-benefit analysis will be useful in analyzing the removal of the lower Snake River dams. We believe a fair, full analysis will show that the benefits of removal well outweigh the costs.

The federal government is now embarked on a 10-year, multibillion dollar salmon recovery plan that relies on the same old failed recovery schemes, like trucking and barging fish around dams. This "keep doing what hasn't worked" plan has neither the funding nor the commitment of the very federal agencies responsible for implementing it. Unless and until that plan restores abundant wild salmon, the better option of lower Snake dam removal will not, and should not, go away.

Pat Ford, executive director Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition
Dam Removal Still Best Option
Spokesman Review, October 18, 2002

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