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Commentaries and editorials

Explore Dam Removal as a First Option

by Miles Farrow-Johnson
Seattle Times, May 22, 2009

The letter from the federal judge earlier this week called for a substantially stronger Columbia Basin salmon plan. Measures like additional river flows seem like steps in the right direction, but I wonder if they will go far enough and if they might end up being more costly than simply removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake River and replacing their limited services with alternatives.

Though removal of these four dams is no silver bullet for salmon recovery in the Columbia and Snake rivers -- other actions will be needed -- the science suggests that it will likely reduce the size and scale of additional restoration activities, like additional spill or flows.

We owe it to ourselves as energy users and ratepayers, consumers of salmon and agricultural products, and of course residents, citizens and neighbors, to explore dam removal as a legitimate first option, not merely a contingency plan. We, as a region and nation, need to get all these types of economic and scientific data together as a first step to allow us to make a fully informed decision.

Miles Farrow-Johnson, Seattle
Explore Dam Removal as a First Option
Seattle Times, May 22, 2009

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