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Commentaries and editorials

Dams Did Not Deliver

by Bill Chetwood
Lewiston Tribune, May 5, 2019

Adult counts of wild Chinook and Steelhead returning to Idaho (source: Idaho Fish & Game) "Make us whole again?"

What does that mean? More subsidies?

In the past 20 years, the state of Idaho experienced job growth of 39.7 percent.

At the far bottom of the economic ladder is the five north central Idaho counties within Region II. Its job growth was 6.6 percent.

During that same 20-year period, Idaho's labor force grew by 32.1 percent, while Region II experienced a 3.4 percent increase in its labor force.

Idaho's Department of Labor also tracks growth in private sector employees versus government employment. During the past 20 years, Idaho saw major increases -- 49.3 percent -- in the number of private sector employees. In Region II, the number of private sector employees grew by 0.1 percent.

The Port of Lewiston is "Idaho's only Seaport."

In the 1950s, the major argument supporting the lower Snake River dams was the economic prosperity these dams would bring to the region by waterborne freight transportation. Observe the decline.

Opposition to the dams centered on a predicted decline in salmon and steelhead numbers, along with the economic and lifestyle losses associated with those fish runs. Observe the decline.

Being dead last in the state in economic growth and the decimation of our fish runs, year after year, might not be the kind of "wholeness" Lewiston's citizens would prefer, but it sure is a demonstration of the old adage: "as ye sow, so shall ye reap."

Bill Chetwood, Lewiston
Dams Did Not Deliver
Lewiston Tribune, May 5, 2019

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