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Commentaries and editorials

Port of Clarkston Critical
of Dam Breaching Study

by Stephen Pimpo
KLEW, August 1, 2019

Port of Clarkston Manager says the entire study is inaccurate.
First, she says the study fails to consider the local cruise industry

CLARKSTON, WA -- “We were incredibly frustrated by it," said Port of Clarkston Manager, Wanda Keefer. “We would call it poor and inaccurate."

Port of Clarkston officials are speaking out after a new study about salmon recovery and the four lower Snake River dams.

The issue of breaching the Snake River dams could threaten the cruise industry in Clarkston. Port Manager Wanda Keefer is calling into question a new study saying that the benefits outweigh the costs of breaching the four dams.

A recent study by ECONorthwest funded by Vulcan Inc. says that the benefits of breaching four dams along the Snake River outweigh the cost especially when it comes to helping salmon, steelhead and their ecosystems.

Port of Clarkston’s Manager, Wanda Keefer, says the entire study is inaccurate. , which relies on the waterway passage made possible by the dams. Keefer also says the ECONorthwest survey was built off of opinions by non-scientific sources as well as studies with pre-determined outcomes from special interest groups. Keefer says the projected environmental benefits for salmon and orcas are just excuses to support having a free-flowing Snake River and reduce the impact of hydro-power.

"It's really disappointing when they think they should be contributing to a public dialog and the bias going in is as extreme as it is in this particular report," said Keefer.

Keefer said the goal should be to find solutions that support salmon recovery, carbon-free hydro-power and river transportation. The port has seen a 34% increase in passengers along the Columbia and Snake Rivers and the local cruise industry has the potential to grow even more.

In a joint statement, Representatives Dan Newhouse of the 4th District and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of the 5th District say, this is privately funded study is a slap in the face of our state’s agricultural economy. It is another example of Seattle-based interests failing to understand our way of life in central and eastern Washington.

There are a lot of studies being done but there is one in particular under federal court-order. In October of 2018, a federal judge ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with a plan to protect salmon from warm temperatures in the Columbia River basin, which includes the four lower Snake River dams.

The Trump administration says that study should be completed by December 2020. A decision on hot to best operate the hydro system is expected to be made based on the study.

Stephen Pimpo
Port of Clarkston Critical of Dam Breaching Study
KLEW, August 1, 2019

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