the film
Commentaries and editorials

Response to
"Columbia River: Forever Dammed?"

by BlueFish
Letter to National Geographic, May 17, 2001

Leave it to National Geographic to bring the world's attention to the Lower Snake River dams and slice to the heart of the issue with the interactive web forum.

"Columbia River: Forever Dammed?" has flared the emotions of many who wish to protect the region's dams and brought criticism that the article was slanted and poorly researched. Having made an award-winning documentary film related to this issue, I can unequivocally state that the article was expertly researched and fairly presented.

Unfortunately, in discussing the entire Columbia River basin, the article tends to group all the region's dams together as one system. It seems that readers are left hanging with the question "are dams good or are dams bad?" I would rather pose the question, "can we remove a few marginal dams and retain the benefits of the whole dam system?"

The Lower Snake River dams do not provide the same scale of benefits that the Columbia River dams provide yet have substantial detriments. Below is a discussion demonstrating how the benefits will still be provided once these four dams and reservoirs are removed.

As it turns out, the benefits that the Lower Snake River dams provide can still be provided without the dams actually in place. The greatest fear of the "Save Our Dams" coalition is that restoring Idaho's salmon runs by removing these four dams will set a precedent that threatens the Columbia River dams on which they are truly trying to defend.

Thanks again for the fine article.

Response to "Columbia River: Forever Dammed?"
Letter to National Geographic, May 17, 2001

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