by Rocky Barker
Interior Secretary Gale Norton called an agreement that would remove two dams to restore salmon but preserve power production on the Penobscot River in Maine a model partnership.
The agreement, signed in June 2004, calls for removal of the Veazie and Great Works dams and construction of fish passage facilities at other dams to open 500 miles of river to endangered Atlantic salmon. The utility that owns the dams, PPL Corp., will get $25 million from the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and environmentalists agreed to drop challenges against the utility's other dams.
"Today, thanks to you, it seems perfectly plausible that executives of a power company that owns dams on the river, environmentalists and sportsmen who have tried to get the dams torn down, the governor of Maine, representatives of state and federal agencies responsible for the fish in the river, and members of a Native American tribe that has fished the river for 10,000 years -- are all working together," Norton said when the agreement was announced June 24, 2004.
Her position was a marked contrast to that of the Bush administration in the Pacific Northwest. President Bush himself has said he will not consider breaching four dams on the lower Snake River to aid salmon migration to spawning habitat in Idaho.
"The Penobscot Model is a partnership for the 21st century of how environmental protection, energy production and economic opportunities can go hand-in-hand when we all communicate and work together," Norton said.
Is It Fair to Compare the Kennebec to the Snake River? by Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman, 7/24/5
Northwest Can Learn from Removal of Maine Dam by Editors, Idaho Statesman, 7/24/5
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