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Salmon and Steelhead Extinction

by Harvey Morrison
Spokesman-Review, April 24, 2022

These dams are obsolete relics of the cold war and 20th-century pork-barrel politics.

Ice Harbor Dam on the Lower Snake River holds back Lake Sacajawea, the source of irrigation water for 47,000 acres of farmland. A years-long federal study has found the many costs of removing four Snake River dams are far higher than keeping them in operation. Seventy years ago, Washington’s two senators convinced a reluctant Congress and presidential opposition to fund the construction of the four lower Snake River dams. Their justification was not only to bring the prosperity of a seaport in Lewiston, but, more urgently, the cold war need for hydropower to fuel Hanford and the aluminum industry.

Today, those justifications have proven to be empty and regrettable promises. Conditions have changed:

These dams are obsolete relics of the cold war and 20th-century pork-barrel politics.

We need our current Senators Murray and Cantwell to provide leadership and correct these mistakes on the Snake. It may not be easy, but there are viable options to replace whatever marginal benefits the dams may provide.

On April 26, Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, will be speaking at Gonzaga University on the urgency to prevent the extinction of the salmon and the alternatives for the marginal power, transportation and irrigation that the dams provide. Register for the event at:

For the salmon and steelhead there are no alternatives. The fish need a living, flowing river.

Harvey Morrison, Spokane
Salmon and Steelhead Extinction
Spokesman-Review, April 24, 2022

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