the film
Commentaries and editorials

Dams Losing Reason for Existence?

by Editors
Idaho Mountain Express, May 25, 2005

One of the pillars in arguments for Lower Snake River dams that've proved so deadly to salmon is that Idaho's only so-called sea port, Lewiston, needs deep water for cargo vessels plying the waterways to Portland for shipment of goods.

That rationale is now taking a beating. Lewiston has just about lost its largest container-shipping client, the Potlatch Corp., which now is trucking products to Puget Sound in the Seattle area.

The truck-to-ship method is apparently more efficient and quicker. In April, according to official statistics, Potlatch shipped 46 containers of paper products through Lewiston, whereas it shipped 548 in April 2004.

But behind Potlatch's switch is the real problem--larger, newer cargo vessels requiring deeper channels can't make it to Lewiston, 465 miles from the Pacific.

So, having spent billions of dollars on a Rube Goldberg system to siphon salmon out of their native waters and onto barges for shipment around dams for release closer to the Pacific, the federal government will now spend more millions on a "solution" to making Lewiston more accessible by water and thus preserving a fast-concocted rationale for maintaining dams.

The Corps of Engineers will deepen 106 miles of the Columbia River channel. How much that will cost and how long it will take is anyone's guess.

This is sheer obstinance that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars in dams, studies, solutions and more solutions, which still don't solve the real threat to the continued existence of salmon.

How much longer can defenders of the dams sucker taxpayers with this blind stubbornness?

Related Pages:
Snake River Commodity Tonnage 1990 - 2002 by Army Corps of Engineers

Dams Losing Reason for Existence?
Idaho Mountain Express - May 25, 2005

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