Salmon Planning Act Receives Mixed Reviewsby Jim Camden
Spokesman Review, July 20, 2001
Proposal would study removing dams from lower Snake River
Sparring over a bill involving salmon and Snake River dams began even before it was introduced Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Seattle Democrat, announced he was sponsoring a bill with 22 other House members that would require studies of the effects of removing four federal dams on the lower Snake.
The proposed Salmon Planning Act calls for the General Accounting Office and the congressional investigative office to study the effects of dam removal on employment, energy production, irrigation and transportation. It also would call for the National Academy of Sciences to conduct peer reviews of federal studies on salmon removal.
The proposal also would give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to remove the dams if federal agencies say that would be necessary to save endangered salmon species.
The bill was introduced at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, where it was praised by environmental and sport fishing groups.
"The Northwest must look ahead and prepare to invest in solutions to recover this magnificent creature, our region's icon," Bill Arthur of the Sierra Club said in a statement.
But U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, a Tri-Cities Republican, blasted the bill even before it was unveiled. He sent a letter to each House member on Tuesday calling it "shortsighted, dangerous and divisive."
"Make no mistake that the true intent of this bill is the outright destruction of a key component of the Pacific Northwest's hydroelectric generating system," he said in his "Dear Colleague" letter.
Hastings vowed to use his position on the House Rules Committee to kill the bill.
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