the film
Commentaries and editorials

Old West Melodrama
on the Snake River Dams

by Editorial Board
Tri-City Herald, August 9, 2009

Environmental extremists have a reliable gunslinger in Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and once again he is spinning the cylinder on his Colt.

He's in quick-draw practice for trying to shoot holes in the four lower Snake River dams.

This time Doc Hastings is cast in the role of Shane.

Our money's on Doc.

McDermott, long a tool of the extreme left wing known for his hair-trigger and erratic aim, has come up with a proposed piece of legislation that would authorize the secretary of the Army -- in the guise of saving salmon runs -- to breach the four dams on the lower Snake River.

Yep. That old B-movie plot.

According to Herald reporter Pratik Joshi, McDermott's proposed legislation has 20 co-sponsors including Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

It would authorize the Secretary of the Army (read U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to remove the dams to "clarify that lower Snake River dam removal is within the Corps' authority."

Wow! The Corps, under this nonsensical bill, would go from being a tool of public policy to making public policy.

For such a law to be enacted, it seems to us, it would require not just a change in the hierarchy of decision making but a rewriting of the Constitution, making the Corps of Engineers a fourth branch of government, as, Congress, the administration, the Supreme Court and the Corps of Engineers.

Maybe McDermott's next step will be a proposal to have all the lieutenant colonels and generals of the Corps elected by the people of the districts in which they serve.

Rep. Hastings, R-Wash., is more than up to the task of facing down this absurd legislation concocted in the bunkhouse of the old Left-Leaning D Ranch.

"One of the first places this dam removal bill will land in Congress is on my desk as the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee, and I pledge to do everything in my power to stop it," Hastings said.

"Dam removal is an extreme action that would have devastating consequences on our region's economy. These four dams are valuable components of the Northwest's clean, low-cost hydropower system that thousands and thousands of jobs rely upon. Dam removal would kill jobs, lead to huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and there's no scientific proof that it would actually guarantee salmon recovery."

Right. And for that matter, the power to operate those smoking hot computers in McDermott's Seattle office comes from Northwest hydropower.

What is he thinking?

"This risky gamble has been rejected again and again, yet dam removal extremists continue their lawsuits, their fundraising campaigns and their fight to spoil agreement on policies that will actually recover fish in the Northwest," Hastings said.

"Professional activists who make a living off of pushing their dam removal agenda may not like to hear it, but Northwest citizens understand we can protect our clean, renewable hydropower dams and recover salmon at the same time."

McDermott, of course (to stretch this metaphor about as far as it can go), is out to make and keep a reputation for himself as an environmental bad actor.

He's being upstaged by Shane.

Oops. We mean Doc.

Related Sites:
Salmon Solutions and Planning Act of 2009

Editorial Board
Old West Melodrama on the Snake River Dams
Tri-City Herald, August 9, 2009

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