the film
Commentaries and editorials

Snake River Dams:
'Pragmatic Decisions'

by Nels Haugen
Seattle Times, August 5, 2020

Re: "U.S.: Snake River dams will not be removed to save salmon" [August 5, Northwest]:

Last week saw a bizarre turn of events as the Trump administration fought to protect clean energy in Washington state. Activists have fought to remove the Snake River dams for some time, for good reason. Removing them would help our salmon and orca populations. Yet if we fail to prevent climate change, it is not only our salmon that will be threatened but the survival of our entire aquatic ecosystem. If we do not decarbonize our electric grid soon, then it won't matter how accessible our spawning waters are.

Washington state is one of the greenest states for power generation, purely because of our immense hydroelectric resources. Not only do these dams supply the majority of our base-load power, they are also used to cover the volatility created by new wind sources. If we take down these dams, we will need to replace them with natural gas peaker plants as well as new sources of base-load power, and the only other carbon-neutral source of base-load power is also an enemy of environmental activists: nuclear.

Decarbonizing our electric grid will take difficult, pragmatic decisions. Destroying the dams will save our fish today, and hasten their extinction tomorrow.

Nels Haugen, Lacey
Snake River Dams: 'Pragmatic Decisions'
Seattle Times, August 5, 2020

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation