Snake River Reservoirsby Dick Rush
Your Views: Idaho State Journal, January 10, 2004
The future of Snake River reservoirs is more than just a fight between farmers and environmental groups. All have learned that the loss of irrigation water from reservoir storage has the potential of drying 2 million acres of southern Idaho farm land. But the impact would also ripple through rural Idaho, causing immediate economic havoc for communities along the Snake River.
That ripple would soon turn into a tidal wave drowning state government, industry, financial institutions and any hope of economic development for Idaho. And strangely, salmon wouldn't be better off, since experiments with flow augmentation show there is no great benefit to salmon.
Sen. Crapo asked that farm industry groups meet with environmentalists to reach a compromise. Those meetings resulted in a stalemate because of the "all-or-nothing" demand from the salmon advocates - who then immediately went to court in Portland. Even though the Portland judge ruled against the environmentalists, they how have vowed to file suit in another court.
Lawsuits too often result in an "all-or-nothing" decision. Idaho water and our economy are too important to risk. Let's hope that environmental groups will drop their threat of litigation.
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