Loyalty: Idaho Delegation
by Dick Dahlgren
Why are Kempthorne and Craig, Otter, Crapo and Simpson defending Washington interests and not Idaho's?
I'm referring to Idaho's salmon and steelhead. Only 24,000 have made it past Lower Granite this year, including only 1,100 that are wild (See www.fpc.org). Historically, the number was 1 to 3 million wild fish. We were told this year's number would be at least 250,000. Now it appears our fish actually are on the brink of extinction.
The main reason they are disappearing are the four dams on the lower Snake River. Scientific evidence supports this. Retired biologists know this. Ex- Corps employees know this. Idaho Fish and Game knows this. Hatchery managers know this. The American Fisheries Society knows this www.bluefish.org/afscriti.htm. And I'm sure, deep in their hearts, Kempthorne and crew know this.
Puzzling, the dams aren't in Idaho, they're in Washington. And our Idaho elected officials continue to protect them over Idaho fish. Why? I guess "big money politics" has a way of pushing buttons and pulling puppet strings. But what big money?
The dams produce little hydropower in the summer and fall because they can't store water for release. Idaho Power has three gas turbines in Mountain Home that produce 200 megawatts of power. The dams barely did that last fall (www.idacorpinc.com).
The Port of Lewiston is in trouble financially. Butch Otter says the barges travel less than full because there is too much silt that needs to be dredged. Potlatch is done with barging. Last year, only 730,000 tons of grain was shipped. We have been told 5 million tons of grain passes through the four dams (www.portoflewiston.com).
The hatchery system was created to provide for sportsmen salmon and steelhead lost from the construction of the dams, not fish for the Endangered Species Act. They do neither (fishandgame.Idaho.gov)
Now, congressional wannabe, Norm Semanko, says he doesn't want to see Idaho farm water used for flushing smolts. He says flushing will cost Idaho billions of dollars. No water is needed if the dams are breached.
But Semanko, too, protects the dams over the fish. It makes no sense.
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