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Commentaries and editorials

So Many Dammed Questions

by Josh Mills
Inlander, July 20, 2017

Steelhead make their final push to the headwaters of the Clearwater and Salmon rivers during spring, which concentrates them in the upper tributaries. I must be missing something.

Why is the consortium of Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler, all R-Wash.; Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., staring into the face of the worst incoming Chinook, sockeye and steelhead runs in decades, and claiming "record returns" and that the status quo is great, and submitting their bill to Congress to prevent additional springtime spill to help endangered fish and take lower Snake River dam removal off the table ("Decision Be Dammed," 7/13/17)?

Why are they subverting an honest review of the Columbia River system biological opinion and hundreds of thousands of comments in a public review process?

Why are they looking to lock in the 2014 Columbia River BiOp that was roundly rejected, based on law and science, by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon?

Why are they propping up a lower Snake River dam complex that is costly to taxpayers and failing our communities?

We, as taxpayers and ratepayers, have poured billions into the system for "salmon and steelhead mitigation." These dams produce little power: less than 4 percent of a regional power grid that is awash in excess production, with more renewables coming online every year. There needs to be a clear distinction between dams that are valuable to the power grid, and those that are not and should come out. The lower four Snake River dams should be removed. Let's craft the compromise that can make this happen. Help communities, save money, and protect salmon.

Salmon and steelhead aren't recovering. We need a new approach, and our current leadership isn't providing it. This bill will only divide communities and drive another nail in the coffin of our keystone Inland Northwest species: wild salmon and steelhead.

It's time to come together to #FreeTheSnake.

Related Pages:
Decision Be Dammed by Samantha Wohlfeil, Inlander, 7/13/17
Bill Keeps Current Salmon Protection in Place by Terry Flores, The Register-Guard, 7/20/17

You can read the full text of the legislation here


No structural modification, action, study, or engineering plan that restricts electrical generation at any Federal Columbia Power System hydroelectric dam, or that limits navigation on the Snake River in the State of Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, shall proceed unless such proposal is specifically and expressly authorized by an Act of Congress enacted after the date of submission to Congress of a proposal for such modification, action, study, or engineering plan, respectively.

Josh Mills Wild Steelhead Coalition Board of Directors Member, Spokane, Washington
So Many Dammed Questions
Inlander, July 20, 2017

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