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Commentaries and editorials

Open Comment Remains Available
for Snake River Dams

by Staff
Whitman County Gazette, April 9, 2020

J-17 on the last day of 2018. Open comment remains available until April 13 on the Draft Environmental Impact Study on the Snake River Dams.

The draft EIS rejects dam breaching, stating the approach of breaching the dams would destabilize the power grid and increase overall greenhouse emissions.

"It is not anticipated that the open comment period for the DEIS will be extended,” said Port of Whitman Communications Director Sarah Highfield.

All comments need to be either mailed or entered online up to April 13.

To help communities send in comments, the Port of Whitman wrote unique letters for each town in the county to submit. Highfield said they sent these letters to all city and town mayors and clerks for signature.

"The towns LaCrosse, Oakesdale, Colfax, St. John and Lamont confirmed they sent in these letters,” Highfield said. "We will continue to follow up with the remaining cities and towns who haven't confirmed in sending a letter during the open comment period.”

Originally planned for in-person open comment meetings, teleconferences were held in place during the 45-day open comment period for people to present their ideas on the Snake River Dams and to meet social distancing requirements.

The last teleconference was held March 31, planned in-person to be in Portland, Ore.

"I listened in on the last open comment teleconference and as soon as the call started at 4 p.m. there were 67 callers in the queue,” said Port Commissioner Tom Kammerzell. "The number of callers in queue filled the entire open-comment period time allotted. There were balanced points of view from each side I heard during the teleconference.”

At the March 26 teleconference, meant for an in-person meeting in Kalispell, Mont., Kammerzell said he was able to present a comment as well as others from Colfax during that time.

"Having these open comment meetings through teleconference have worked very well,” Kammerzell said. "There have been people giving comments from all over the northwest as well as other places that might not have had the chance.”

During the open comment period, Facebook outreach in support of the dams from the port, running March 2 to March 29, had a post reach increase of 387 percent and a 220 percent increase in post engagement from the previous 27 days.

Continuing through the end of the open comment period, social media efforts will remain in effect from the port, as well as encouraging cities and towns to send in comments.

Public comments can be submitted through or mailed, postmarked by April 13, to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CRSO EIS P.O. Box 2870, Portland OR 97208-2870.

Open Comment Remains Available for Snake River Dams
Whitman County Gazette, April 9, 2020

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