Remove Dams, Create Jobs,by Todd Sloan
Three cheers for the court's decision to invalidate the Bush administration's plan to lay waste to salmon and protect four costly dams on the lower Snake River. Unsurprisingly, the government is wasting no time fear-mongering that protecting salmon is too costly for the region. For those who remember the spotted owl debate, it's dą©ją› vu all over again.
The timber industry -- with the government at its side -- claimed protecting the owl and ancient forests would leave the Northwest in economic ruin. Sound familiar?
Nothing like it happened.
As for our iconic salmon, this is a far less credible threat since healthy runs of salmon and steelhead -- unlike the owl -- will actually support tens of thousands of jobs and literally billions of dollars in economic activity in our commercial, recreational and tribal fishing communities.
And there is no reason to pit fishermen against farmers; the time has come for Congress to step in and figure out how to meet both sectors' needs. Given the four Snake River dams' minimal benefits, that shouldn't be all that hard.
This looks like one of those increasingly rare cases where we can make transition and keep everybody whole while we create new jobs and solve problems.
Let's do it!
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