the film
Commentaries and editorials

The Best Way to Restore Salmon
is to Remove the Dams

by Luddness
The Oregonian, September 16, 2009

Editor's note: This was among the comments in response to the editorial,
"It's time to get Columbia salmon out of the courtroom."

We have an inherent compulsion to appear "balanced" and "reasonable." Saying the best science has been aired in the Administration's Salmon Plan doesn't mean the Plan uses that science to reach good policy conclusions that comply with the Endangered Species Act and the goal of restoring the fishery resource that is the hallmark of our Pacific Northwest culture.

The tendency toward seeking a "win-win" doesn't change the reality that we have no viable scheme to restore native salmon while keeping the four Snake River Dams in place. This Plan now adopted by the Obama Administration, in apparent attempt to appease the Washington Senate Democrats, approves no significant actions that haven't been implemented in the past with no positive results. There is no question, rationally or scientifically, that the best way to restore the fish is to remove the dams.

If we continue with this "cake and eat it too" approach, in the event of another drought like we had from 1986 through 1992, we will lose the native stocks of fish. This looming tragedy and our denial, failure to recognize a critical, immediate need, is a sad reflection on the values of our society- narrow, short-term economic considerations are more valuable than the natural structure of our native ecosystem- even the wonders that have fed generation after generation for centuries.

Protecting these four dams is not an act of protecting the economy, green energy or any other important social infrastructure. It is merely the protection of an irrelevant economic institution (barging grain) to which there are viable and perfectly reasonable alternatives.

If the dams are gone, the grain will still move to port, the irrigators will still irrigate and the world will turn nicely just as it did in the early 70s before any of these dams were built. The return of the salmon will open tremendous economic opportunity, not to mention celebration that our society was able succeeded in one of the most challenging and politically difficult tasks we've ever faced.

The Best Way to Restore Salmon is to Remove the Dams
The Oregonian, September 16, 2009

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