Meeting Helen ChenowethU.S. House of Representatives (Idaho - R)
Bluefish's Notes for Meeting in Boise, Idaho - 12/10/98
Four Lower Snake River Dams (Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, Ice Harbor) in Southeastern Washington State must be retired to effectively recover endangered anadroumous fish species.
Oregon Natural Resource Council's economic analysis shows these dams as a yearly $87 million expense.
Dam Benefits and Rebuttal
These dams always operate within a few feet of the top to maximize power production.
Without the reservoir, pumps could be added and pipes extended 100 feet to the level of the natural river (easily paid for out of $87 million annual savings).
Government subsidy allows barges to charge $1.23 / ton but true cost is $13.89 / ton.
Government does not charge for lock operation & maintenance, channel dredging or for power lost due to water going through locks and not hydropower system.
Barging exemplifies wasteful government subsidy. Should government be in this business?
Without barging, rail companies would readily fill the demand for grain shipping.
- Lower Granite Reservoir extends to Lewiston Idaho.Water skiing would still be possible on a river. Steam boats once traveled up to Lewiston.
- Ice Harbor is near Tri-Cities which the Columbia River runs through.
Float boating would likely increase if the river was returned to a natural state.
Fishing does currently occur but would increase if a wild river had wild fish.
Lewiston would likely become even more popular as a fly fishing Mecca.
Lewiston had a greater population before the dams were put in place.
From 90 to 450 people have employment dependent on the Lower Snake River Dams.
2-4% of the regions electricity comes from these 4 dams, power easily replaced by conservation.
- Conserve through lighting improvements. Lighting consumes 1/4 of nations electricity.If electric demand must be met, is it the government's place to be in this business?
- Conserve through reduced production of aluminum which is currently in oversupply.
A natural gas fired plant can produce power at a lower kilowatt cost than these dams.
The Pacific Northwest's surplus of electricity yields the lowest cost of electricity in the nation.
Aluminum producers get electricity for even less, about half as much (1.8-2.1 cents/kwh).
- This is the second greatest producer of revenue for the U.S. government.15% of Bonneville Power Administration capacity comes from Lower Snake River Dams.
Those dams are actually an expense due to the cost of fish recovery efforts mandated by law.
Lost revenue could be replaced by gradually reducing the subsidy to the aluminum industry.
One kwh produces a six pack of aluminum cans. Recycling produces 20 times as much.
Basically, government subsidy is converted to corporate profit via production of aluminum cans.
Is it the government's place to subsidize profitable Dow Jones Industrial companies?
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