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Commentaries and editorials

Supports Dams

by Marvin J. Jackson
Lewiston Tribune, January 12, 2020

A Native American family is shown standing near Celilo Falls, a longtime fishing and trading spot for Native Americans, on the Columbia River in this undated photo.  The falls were flooded when The Dalles Dam was constructed in 1957. Some things are being missed in discussing dam breaching.

The needs of the world for food have to be a significant consideration. Swine flu is devastating food sources in Asia. American family farms produce corn, soybeans, lentils, garbanzo beans and, of course, wheat.

Ten percent of all the wheat that leaves the United States for foreign locations goes through one of the four lower Snake River dams; 58 percent of all U.S. exported wheat passes through the Columbia/Snake River system.

Family farms feed the world now. But if it costs significantly more to transport their products, they will go out of business.

Railroads increased prices dramatically during extended lock closures. If you hand them a monopoly by eliminating dams, prices will skyrocket.

There is a shortage of truck drivers today, when there are three options for moving freight. If the range of options is narrowed down to only two, and those two are already inadequate, you’re not going to have a good outcome.

You can only put so many cars on the railroads.

The right cars are not where they are needed. Wheat requires Class A rail cars, which are in limited supply.

Non-dammed rivers have significantly fewer fish returns. Climate change, predation and over-fishing are affecting those fish, also.

Dam breaching won’t bring back fish. Fewer hatchery fish will result, making it more difficult for fishing guides -- and for orcas.

Your opinions count. Email them to with the email subject line “draft LSRD report.

Marvin J. Jackson, Port of Clarkston commissioner, Clarkston
Supports Dams
Lewiston Tribune, January 12, 2020

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