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Commentaries and editorials

Dams Must Go

by Dick Dahlgren
The Wood River Journal - November 3, 1999

KETCHUM -- "The children should be here with me! We are saving these salmon for them. The fish are their heritage and I will do whatever is necessary to see that their survival happens!" Governor Kempthorne, Redfish Lake, September 7, 1999

Powerful words for the children of Idaho to remeber. The governor was standing in hip waders before press and television cameras when he made that statement. He had just released the last of 21 endangered sockeye salmon.

If he is serious about saving these fish for Idaho's children, the governor must support breaching. As a politician, he is mandated to listen to the majority. Public meetings around the state continue to show overwhelming support for the "return to a natural river" concept.

The four dams on the lower Snake must go. The best fisheries experts in the world advise it: Idaho Fish and Game, American Fisheries Society, National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over 20 years of attempts to do otherwise have failed. Strobe lights, hanging fishways and more barging will not help.

Now Kempthorne has hired Buzz Fawcett, past advisor, and Fawcett's law firm, Perkins Coie, to work on the salmon solution. Perkins Coie has offices in Anchorage, Bellevue, Denver, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Olympia, Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Taipei, Washington, D.C., and Boise. Their specialty is representing big business in mitigating environmental issues.

The law firm sounds expensive. What mission has the governor given them? Who is paying their legat fees? Is Perkins Coie working hard for the ordinary folks of Idaho . . . or big-moneyed special interests?

by Dick Dahlgren, Fish' Folks of the West
Dams Must Go
Wood River Journal, November 10, 1999

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