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Commentaries and editorials

The Snake's Costly Dams

by Lee Bernasconi
Idaho Statesman, November 30, 2006

I read the Reader's View on Saturday, Nov. 18, titled "Salmon are Important." Several additional points could be made about the four dams below Lewiston on the Snake River.

  1. All four of the dams are in Washington state.
  2. They provide no flood control.
  3. Virtually all the power they provide (90-plus percent) is used in Washington.
  4. They are used to assist the irrigation of 35,000 acres in Washington. (See Irrigation from 4 Lower Snake River Reservoirs)
  5. They are not self-supporting. In other words, every barge that leaves the Port of Lewiston leaves at taxpayer expense. Or what generally amounts to a subsidy to the Potlatch Corp. and Montana grain growers.
There is little doubt that restored wild salmon runs would bring millions of dollars to the small towns along the Snake and Salmon rivers in Idaho.

Why do Idaho politicians continue to support four dams which cost Idaho taxpayers considerable money and benefit only people in Washington?

I have written Sen. Larry Craig on this subject several times and never received a satisfactory answer. Perhaps our newly elected governor has a more logical response.

Lee Bernasconi, Boise
The Snake's Costly Dams
Idaho Statesman, November 30, 2006

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