the film
Commentaries and editorials

Snake River Ecosystem:
Lessons from Alaska

by John Rosapepe
Seattle Times, March 3, 2023

Lower Granite Dam in SE Washington state impounds the Lower Snake forty miles up beyond the Idaho border. Re: "EPA blocks Alaska Pebble Mine in salmon-rich Bristol Bay region" [Jan. 31, Northwest] and "US reinstates road, logging restrictions on Alaska forest" [Jan. 25, Nation]:

In his essay "The Land Ethic," Aldo Leopold writes: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

Recent federal decisions to void the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay and to cancel logging of old growth in the Tongass National Forest perfectly exemplify Leopold's dictum: They demonstrate a willingness to preserve huge, vital, irreplaceable ecosystems. They also provide a perspective from which to view current debates about the four dams on the Lower Snake River. Given that transportation and energy alternatives to the dams are achievable, removing them is clearly mandatory.

Like ending logging in the Tongas and preserving the magnificent salmon runs in Bristol Bay, removing those four dams will restore the "integrity, stability, and beauty" of the entire Snake River ecosystem.

John Rosapepe, Seattle, Pacific Northwest representative, Endangered Species Coalition
Snake River Ecosystem: Lessons from Alaska
Seattle Times, March 3, 2023

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