An Inadequate Job of Considering
by Bert Bowler
Your editorial referring to Judge Redden stepping aside on salmon litigation perpetuates the many myths associated with the issue.
The federal government's plan has done an inadequate job of considering the best available science. Most fisheries scientists agree that the four lower Snake River dams and reservoirs are a significant threat to the continued existence of wild salmon populations in the drainage. Snake Basin salmon are the most important remaining in the Columbia River.
Removing the lower Snake River dams will not result in economic devastation for the Northwest. The liabilities associated with preserving the dams far outweigh the assets.
The Bonneville Power Administration spends hundreds of millions of dollars of ratepayer money annually in the name of wild salmon protection that has little effect. Future investment in navigation lock and powerhouse rehabilitation will add to the costs without benefiting salmon.
The dams generate a limited amount of electricity that can be replaced by conservation and clean renewable energy that does not include coal and natural gas. The problem of integrating wind and hydro during the spring months (overgeneration) could be ameliorated by taking the lower Snake dams out of the power equation.
Low flow and spill for salmon during July and August contribute to the dam's limited electricity generation.
The lower Snake dams provide no flood control. Lower Granite dam and reservoir contribute to a potential flood problem for Lewiston that could require raising the levees that protect the downtown from flooding.
Navigation can be replaced with rail and some improvements in highway infrastructure.
Congress is currently considering raising user fees for navigation that will reduce the subsidy and increase shipping rates.
The value/benefits of a restored free flowing lower Snake River will surpass those of the existing reservoirs.
The salmon topic in the Northwest wants of discussion and dialogue that will seriously examine the costs and benefits of retaining/ removing the lower Snake River dams.
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