An Enlightened Era?by Rich Howard
The Idaho Statesman, June 5, 2005
With the decision by U.S. District Judge James Redden to breach the Bush administration's salmon plan, a new and enlightened era of mitigation has been reopened. Maybe the participating agencies will get it right this time and take the bold steps to deauthorize the four lower dams on the Snake River.
With deauthorization in place, the dams could be breached, one dam at a time over a four- to six-year period.
Funding mitigation for this strategy could be tied to the Hells Canyon complex of dams that are now up for relicensing. The power mitigation is elegant but simple ... use the existing powerline grid from the four lower dams and build hybrid solar and fuel cell power generators.
IdaCorp has a subsidiary company that builds fuel cells and they have close ties to a company that bought their solar power subsidiary last year. Additional funds would be needed to upgrade the railroad for hauling grain and other freight from Lewiston to Columbia River seaports.
This would be a mature decision by our Northwest regional leaders to restore a sense of natural connectivity to our diverse Northwest culture. Salmon and steelhead need our commitment for rational restoration.
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