the film
Commentaries and editorials

The Truth About the
Lower Four Snake River Dams

by Christina Price
The Olympian, August 15, 2017

Graphic: Survival rates of juvenile Chinook and Steelhead migrating downstream through the federal hydrosystem corridor.  Note that in most years, fewer than half the juvenile run has survived the dangerous downstream migration. I read Ms. Dixon's letter regarding removal of the four lower Snake River dams, and I would like to set the record straight. These dams contribute less than 4 percent of the electricity in the Pacific NW power grid and only 6.5 percent of the Northwest's hydropower.

They produce much of their power when demand for electricity and market price are both low. The Pacific Northwest wind energy capacity is now three times greater than the combined capacity of all four lower Snake River dams. We now have a surplus of energy, at times requiring wind turbines to be shut down and electricity to be exported at a negative price. As for the fish ladders and "other enhancements that promote fish preservation", in 2015, 99 percent of adult Snake River sockeye salmon died before reaching their spawning grounds.

Seven hundred million of our tax dollars have been spent just on system improvements designed to increase the rate of juvenile fish passage on the four lower Snake River dams. However, fish survival rates have not improved one bit, and none of the threatened or endangered fish species are even close to recovery. Furthermore, three federal judges over a twenty-year period have declared plans for the operation of these dams illegal. I would suggest that Ms. Dixon flip the light switch on; she's been sitting in the dark on this issue.

Christina Price, Rochester
The Truth About the Lower Four Snake River Dams
The Olympian, August 15, 2017

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