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Commentaries and editorials

An Incremental Step
in an Overall Plan

by Linda Rushton
Columbia Basin Herald, April 17, 2003

The proposed drawdown of Banks Lake for flow augmentation is an incremental step in an overall plan to remove the dams. We cannot let this happen. The dams are extremely necessary for clean power production, flood control, irrigation, and recreation. With terrorism and world uncertainty, we should in no way threaten or endanger our capability to grow our own food which we also share with the world.

Why are not real causes of salmon jeopardy addressed? such as--overfishing, millions of pounds of dead salmon thrown overboard as "bycatch", gillnetting, increased water spillage from dams for flow augmentation which causes gas bubble death, introduction of species that eat salmon as walleye and shad, and other natural predators as birds and sea lions. There are also environmental conditions over which we have absolutely no control even if so-called environmentalists think we do. No reasonable person is against responsible stewardship of the land and its creatures but most of the activity carried on in the name of the Endangered Species Act is neither reasonable nor responsible.

With expenditures of $500 million a year for salmon recovery, it is time to say STOP to being plundered. Shutting down hydropower does not help salmon runs. The salmon are not endangered. Much of the money for salmon recovery comes from citizens who pay their electrical bills and send it through utility districts to the Bonneville Power Administration which is required to give it to those supposedly fulfilling objectives of the ESA. This money for the most part is being used AGAINST us. It could be compared to forcing a condemned man to dig his own grave.

In chapter three of the Bureau of Reclamation Draft Environmental Impact Statement the visual quality of Banks Lake area is discussed. The scenic quality is described as appealing but evidence of human activity is described as intrusive. Does this mean that after the dams are removed rural cleansing will be the next step?

Our form of government has been set up with three branches to provide checks and balances. Where are the checks and balances on ESA? The ESA has been placed above all. Bureaucrats have dictatorial power to do whatever they want in the name of the ESA no matter that what they want goes against measurable science and other laws.

The ESA rules with an iron fist and requires that all bow down. In twenty-five years there is not one species that the ESA has saved from extinction. In the name of the ESA men have wreaked havoc. The ESA should be repealed.

Drawing down Banks Lake is wrong. Don't do it.


Linda Rushton, Coulee City
An Incremental Step in an Overall Plan
Columbia Basin Herald, April 17, 2003

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