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Commentaries and editorials

Say Yes to Bypass

by Andy Munter
Wood River Journal - November 17, 1999

KETCHUM -- It's interesting to read the recent letters opposing Snake River dam breaching as a way to save salmon. Most of them call for more studies, praise barging, preach new techno-solutions, blame other sources (the ocean, the terns, the squaw fish...), or just call it politically impossible.

It's exactly what I would expect to see put out by the special interests and their politicians in the face of overwhelming scientific support for breaching as the best way to save wild salmon and steelhead. And, as an added bonus, the economists say it's acutually cheaper than the other alternatives being looked at (more southern Idaho water, more barging, dam modifications).

We've spent over 50 years and over $3 billion trying to have dams and fish. Right now, virtually the entire scientific community -- with independent paychecks anyway -- say we need to bypass four dams on the lower Snake to save the fish. Let's listen to science instead of special interests. Let's get our heads out of the sand and move forward. We have a lot of work to do making sure grain still gets to market economically, lost electricity is made up, irrigation pipes are modified and other mitigation is taken care of.

The reality is that dam bypass will be decided by the politicians. We need to let them know we care. If we don't act soon, we can count on Idaho salmon and steelhead going extinct in our lifetime -- with nobody to blame but us.

by Andy Munter
Say Yes to Bypass
Letter to Editor, Wood River Journal, November 17, 1999

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