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Sali: Proposals to Breach Dams Politicizes Science

by Pat McCoy
Capital Press, May 23, 2008

Action will not increase salmon runs, study says

Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, says proposals to breach dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers are nothing but a politicization of science, brought forward to placate extreme environmentalists.

Taxpayer-funded studies do not support breaching the dams to increase salmon runs in the Columbia River, Sali told his fellow members of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans during a committee hearing on May 15.

"In fact, there are significant environmental impacts if the dams were breached, of which my constituents will bear the brunt," Sali said.

"I am disappointed at the tone of this hearing from the outset - intentional commingling of issues to get a desired result. These organizations are frantically trying to take advantage of a crisis situation so they can capitalize on the misfortunes of others," he said.

If three dams are breached, alternative transportation would have to be found to haul freight, Sali said. Due to tight rail capacity, truck transportation would be the primary source available, he said. As of May 15, 1,600 million trip-ton-miles were transported on the Snake River to, or from, Lewiston, Idaho.

Moving from barge freight to truck would increase carbon dioxide emissions in the region by up to 65,000 metric tons per year, Sali said. That does not take into consideration safety and economic concerns, with increased congestion on Idaho roads.

"More striking, however, is the significant increase in carbon emissions from replacement of the electricity from four hydropower dams. If that energy source was replaced by coal-fired power plants, we would move from a carbon-free power source to one that would emit approximately 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year," he said. "Many assert carbon emissions contribute to climate change and thus to ocean warming, the same ocean warming that witnesses today testified affect salmon. This sounds counter-productive to me."

Sali authored House Concurrent Resolution 184 in 2007 to ask Congress to oppose removing dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers and to recognize the environmental benefits of keeping them in place.

bluefish notes: 22 million compact fluorescent bulbs distributed to the region would offset the power output of 4 Lower Snake River dams

Related Pages:
Wal-Mart Launches Major Solar Power Project by Staff,, 5/8/7
Wal-Mart to Sell 100 Million Compact Fluorescents by Staff,, 5/8/7

With nearly 20 percent of all home electric costs stemming from lighting alone, CFLs can have tremendous benefits. Converting one conventional 60W bulb to a 13W CFL can save: $30 in electric costs over its lifetime; 10 conventional bulbs from being produced, transported and discarded in a landfill; 220 lbs. of coal from being burned; and 450 lbs. of greenhouse gases from reaching the air. The average home has more than 30 compatible sockets, which means even more potential savings.

"We realize this is a lofty aspiration, but if we reach our goal of selling 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007, the results will be staggering," Ruben added. "Over the life of those bulbs, $3 billion can be saved in electrical costs and 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases can be prevented from entering our atmosphere. This change is comparable to taking 700,000 cars off the road, or powering 450,000 single-family homes. Compact fluorescent light bulbs will change the way consumers look at energy efficient products because not only can they benefit directly, but also feel good about it."

Pat McCoy is based in Boise.
Sali: Proposals to Breach Dams Politicizes Science
Capital Press, May 23, 2008

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