Seattle City Council Votes for Dam Breachingby Staff
Environment News Service - August 23, 2000
SEATTLE, Washington, August 23, 2000 (ENS) - The Seattle City Council has endorsed the bypass of four dams on the Lower Snake River in eastern Washington to save endangered salmon. The City Council resolution, which passed 8 to 0, also endorsed energy conservation and renewable energy source investments to replace lost hydropower. "The people of Seattle are willing to pay more for their electricity to save salmon," said Justin Hayes of American Rivers, a national river conservation group which applauded the vote. The city council also sets policy for Seattle City Light, the largest public utility in the Northwest. Dam removal would increase Seattle's residential electricity bills by about $1 per month, studies show. "This vote is another indication of the strong, regional support for dam bypass," said Rob Masonis of American Rivers.
Dams kill fish by delaying the migration of young salmon to the sea, and blocking adults from returning to spawn. Scientists say a portion of four dams on the Lower Snake River must be removed to save four runs of Snake River salmon. Under current conditions, the Snake River's wild spring/summer chinook salmon could be extinct by 2017, one study has shown. If the White House endorses a draft plan developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), dam removal would not begin until 2014. Conservation groups have urged the Clinton Administration to require dam bypass in 2005 unless salmon populations rebound. "We can save salmon and still have affordable electricity," Hayes said. "But we cannot save salmon unless we bypass the dams."
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