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Commentaries and editorials

Bring on Dam Breaching

by Reed Burkholder
Idaho Falls Post Register, December 1, 2003

I read with interest Mark Gendron's guest column on salmon recovery and the four lower Snake River dams (Nov. 7).

Does Gendron have any idea what a small amount of electricity comes to Idaho from the four lower Snake River dams? Bonneville Power Administration customers in Idaho have a combined average electrical load of about 300 megawatts. The four Lower Snake River dams supply about 12 percent of the BPA system, or about 36 megawatts to Idaho. Thirty-six piddling megawatts.

Imagine how silly the salmon recovery issue must look to people from states outside of the Northwest - Texas, for example. Their top power plant can produce 4,000 megawatts. Seven more power plants have generating capacities of between 2,000 and 2,700 megawatts. Fourteen additional power plants have generating capacities of 1,000 to 1,980 megawatts.

And Gendron wants Idahoans to listen to his arguments against breaching the lower Snake dams for 36 megawatts.

The four lower Snake River dams have meaning for Idaho in one way - they are liabilities. They have harmed rivers and salmon runs for hundreds of miles upstream, all the way to Redfish Lake, where three sockeye returned to spawn this year.

Bring on the dam removal era. Breaching low-value dams in Washington will be good for Idaho.

by Reed Burkholder Boise
Bring on Dam Breaching
Post Register, December 1, 2003

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