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Columbia River Dams: Beyond Breaching

by Editorial Board
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 26, 2006

A new report shows big economic benefits from tearing down the four worst offenders among the Columbia River Basin's more than 200 dams. A more encouraging development is the eagerness of environmental, energy and fishing groups to talk with those who feel threatened by dam removal.

There's nothing earthshaking in the idea that removing four Lower Snake Rivers would bring greater benefits for fish, the environment and tourism than the costs. The new Revenue Stream report compiles previous estimates to conclude the benefits would nearly double the costs, at minimum.

There are entrenched feelings, however. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, would like to block federal spending to comply with a valid court order for new consideration of the dams' effects on salmon and steelhead. It's an offensive idea springing from repeated court decisions on the need to protect fish.

Environmentalists can keep winning in court. But solutions will come from talking. Reaching out to inland communities with sound numbers and open minds is the key to resolving questions about irrigation, shipping and other issues.

Related Sites:
Adult Salmon Passage at Lower Granite Dam Yearly Adult Counts 1975 - Present
"Revenue Stream," Taxpayers for Common Sense

A substantial dialogue followed on the P-I's blog site

Editorial Board
Columbia River Dams: Beyond Breaching
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 26, 2006

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