Less Pork More Salmon
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, October 1, 2012
If there was ever a pork-barreled project, the dock extension at the Port of Lewiston is it. The port employs six people. Yet, it was just awarded a federal grant to double the size of its dock. Over the past decade the port has seen container shipments decline by approximately 75 percent. That includes lumber, paper and grains. Unit trains are coming to the Palouse, indicating barge traffic will decrease further.
If U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Port Manager David Doeringsfeld are serious about creating jobs and boosting the regional economy, then we need a modern facility that can efficiently transport goods to domestic and international markets to the east and west. Viewing the Columbia River system as a "marine highway" is a dead end.
There's a growing sediment problem at the Snake and Clearwater confluence, too. The Army Corps of Engineers will soon release a plan that will most likely propose raising the dikes and dredging the river. Endless rising of the levees and dredging of the rivers is unsustainable with no clear-cut solution or public benefit.
With wild salmon populations declining, and the Obama administration's biological opinion declared illegal, dock extension makes even less sense. If dam decommissioning is going to be "on the table", as Sen. Mike Crapo suggests, than why are taxpayers being forced to invest in the status quo? At the end of the day we need less cement in our waterways, a 21st century transportation system and more wild salmon in our rivers.
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