Salmon: A Dam Shameby Editorial Board
Boston Globe, August 10, 2009
In a court hearing Friday, President Obama can put an end to the Bush administration's scofflaw approach to the Endangered Species Act and help bring the Pacific Northwest's wild salmon back from the threat of extinction. In the 17 years since wild salmon were declared endangered in the Columbia-Snake River basin, the federal government has gone so far as to put them on air-conditioned barges to move them past dams. But the $8 billion spent so far on such measures has been to little avail. The basic problem is the dams, which obstruct the movement of the salmon between the rivers and the ocean. These dams need to go. The Obama team should reject the barges, fish ladders, and other half-measures used by the Bush administration and instead call for the removal of the dams. Efficiency programs and renewable energy, especially wind turbines, could easily supplant 70 percent of the hydroelectric power produced by the dams, which is 4 percent of the region's total. Physically dismantling the dams would cost $790 million, a fraction of what has been spent on getting the fish over or around them. Torpedo the dams; save the salmon from extinction.
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