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Commentaries and editorials

Breach Snake River Dams

by Al Espinosa
The Columbian, April 27, 2007

The Columbian did a commendable job in covering the controversy associated with the Snake River dams and the sediment problems at Lewiston, Idaho. The April 15 story, "Pressure builds on Snake River dams," was reasonably comprehensive and touched on most issues. However, I would like to add a few comments.

Maintaining a port in Lewiston is possible, however it is tantamount to raising bananas in the Arctic. It is economically feasible only if it is heavily subsidized on the backs of the salmon and taxpayers. The trade-offs to this venture have been Draconian - just ask the commercial and recreational fishing communities.

Realistically, the Corps of Engineers has only one viable alternative to this problem. It cannot dredge fast or long enough to make a difference. Repeated elevation of the levees will ensure that Lewiston has the next Great Wall of China. Voluntary reduction of sediment production and delivery from lands managed by other entities is illusory. Other sediment-transport devices are untested, limited in scope, and highly expensive.

The only common-sense alternative is to breach the four Snake River dams and develop an alternate transportation system.

Al Espinosa, Moscow, Idaho
Breach Snake River Dams
The Columbian, April 27, 2007

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