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Commentaries and editorials

Remove Snake River Dams

by Laurie Kerr
The Columbian, December 1, 2018

Graphic: Energy Strategies analysis used 77 years of historic water flows, and 80 years of Temperature/Load data to run 6160 simulations in NW Power & Conservation Council's GENESYS to determine the Northwest's resource adequacy. I applaud Gov. Jay Inslee for establishing the Orca Recovery Task Force in hopes of restoring declining salmon populations.

Southern resident orcas swim on the brink of extinction. Scientists predict they’ll be gone in three to five years, and say they’re starving. Restoring the Lower Snake River and its endangered chinook salmon is our opportunity to increase salmon abundance, feed orca, and help protect them from extinction.

The task force recommends removing the four Lower Snake River Dams.

Historically, the Columbia Basin had yearly wild salmon runs at 10 million to 16 million; 2017 counts at the uppermost dam totaled 74,871 fish.

Over 20 years and costing over $3 billion, fish passage structures and strategies on the Lower Snake River have failed. By maintaining these four dams, the federal government is allowing wild salmon to slide toward extinction.

Furthermore, power surplus exists in the Pacific Northwest due to expansions of solar, wind, and natural gas production. These dams supply only 5 percent of our power.

The need for the four dams to be transportation waterways has also decreased. Since 2000, freight volume is down 50 percent, and grain shipping by 45 percent.

Contact Inslee to support breaching these dams.

Laurie Kerr, Battle Ground
Remove Snake River Dams
The Columbian, December 1, 2018

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