Environmentalists Slam Feds Dam Plansby Jon Hanian
KBCI TV, September 1, 2004
BOISE -- Idaho Salmon and Steelhead are in the middle of a tug of war that has been going on for decades and environmentalists are now howling that push has finally come to shove. "It is absolutely absurd."
Brent Bowler of Idaho Rivers United says a draft federal strategy to leave lower Snake River dams unbreached is the same thing as saying the dams are harmless and fish advocates like Bowler, are having none of it.
"What really doesn't add up here, the four Governors from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana are on record saying they want to see sustainable harvestable wild fish back in the Snake River drainage. The federal government is saying that is not our goal anymore. Our goal is just to keep them from going instinct."
Many Fish biologists feel dam breaching is the only viable option. The Bonneville Power Administration believes that breaching is not a realistic option because hydro power has become critical to the northwest's economy. John Williams, spokesperson for the Boise office of the B.P.A. says that is a fact of life environmentalists should realize. "You won't see any new hydro power but what currently exists is needed."
Bowler says the federal government is retreating from earlier positions. "This backsliding there is no doubt about it and I would to really question the states to see where they stand in this whole effort."
One of Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne's representatives on the four state Northwest Power Planning Council is Judi Danielson. She is also the council chair. Danielson says the draft plan needs more detail before environmentalists slam it. "I wouldn't pass judgement on that. I think it would be too early until we actually see the devil in the detail."
The biological opinion is expected to be released in the next week to ten days.
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