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Commentaries and editorials

Science, Economics Point this Way

by Kevin O'Brien
The Oregonian, January 10, 2005

Bruce Babbitt brought to light some facts that have been ignored in the endless debates about the cost/benefit ratios of the four lower Snake River dams.

I'm particularly happy that he pointed out (Commentary, Jan. 4) the price that American taxpayers and Northwest ratepayers are paying for those dams -- $36 million per year operating cost, with an additional $6 billion over the next 10 years to administer the Endangered Species Act.

A recent transportation study estimates that for about $17 million, a rail system could be built to transport grain from the region that is now transported on barges.

In addition, considering the (proliferation of) chinook salmon in the free-flowing Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, it is easy to imagine a similarly productive Snake River if it were unencumbered by dams.

As someone who makes his living from fishing, I hope that the bureaucrats and politicians will finally give the science and economics -- which scream to have the dams removed -- complete consideration.

Mac Huff, Eagle Cap Fishing Guides, Joseph
Science, Economics Point this Way
The Oregonian, January 10, 2005

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