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Commentaries and editorials

Officials Present to a Crowd the
Lower Snake River Dam Study

by Lauren Kahl
KLEW, January 8, 2020

CLARKSTON -- The Washington State legislature provided funding to the Governor Jay Inslee's office to gather the views of Washingtonians on breaching, removing or retaining the four lower Snake River dams. Here's the highlights from the brief presentation on the draft report and panel discussion held in Clarkston.

More than 200 people came to the Quality Inn that standing was the only option left. They attended to hear about the future of the dams. However, public comment was limited to written comments only.

10 People were selected to speak on behalf of the state representing concerns from the preserve salmon and orca industries, the Nez Perce Tribe, farmers, transportation and energy.

Their overall consensus was to find a common ground.

"Looking at some bold actions, looking at all options and making sure everyone's voice is heard," Save Our Wild Salmon, Director Sam Mace said.

Among the concerns were the extinction of salmon and endangered orcas who eat the salmon. These officials claim if the dams were removed you can save the fish while some think there might be other solutions.

Litigations were also kept in mind. One of those being, the treaty made by the U.S. with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Nez Perce Tribe Manager, Dave Johnson explains what this treaty entails, "Made a treaty with the tribe, in this case, Nez Perce, your livelihood is guaranteed, you're always going to be able to harvest these fish."

Another concern is how farmers and transportation officials afford the cost to remove the dams. For it will prevent transportation of barges along the river, causing shipments of goods to come to a halt.

Energy was also a major concern. Representatives discussed different views regarding the outcome. Explaining energy alternatives if you choose to remove the dams.

"The reason I was at this forum is try to help people understand how the system works, understand the complexities, understand the trade--offs," Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Powerlead for the Columbia Environmental Impact Birgit Koehler said.

Leaving the decisions up to the citizens comments. Written comments only are due by January 24, 2019.

You can find more about energy alternatives if you visit: Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

If you want to review the draft report or submit a written comment, you can go to the following website:

Lauren Kahl
Officials Present to a Crowd the Lower Snake River Dam Study
KLEW, January 8, 2020

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