Statesman's Pro-Breaching Stand is Unrealisticby Terry Flores
Idaho Statesman, December 11, 2012
Once again the Idaho Statesman's editorial board repeats its tired and out-of-touch refrain that the Snake River dams should be removed ("Idaho Salmon: the $9,000 Sockeye. There is a better answer" Dec. 6). Of course, $9,000 for each returning fish is a shocking number, but the problem lies with the Endangered Species Act, which requires that listed species be protected regardless of cost, not the dams.
So if the Statesman wants to go bring monetary values into the debate, then let's take a hard look at the economic -- and environmental -- values those dams bring to Idaho and the Northwest.
To begin with, the Snake River dams are a key part of the Northwest's hydropower system that provides nearly 60 percent of the Northwest's energy. This clean, renewable energy makes us far less dependent than the rest of the country on coal, natural gas or nuclear plants, keeping the Northwest's carbon footprint half that of the rest of the country. And these dams alone produce enough energy to power the city of Seattle.
But their contribution doesn't stop there.
The Snake River dams are the region's workhorses, completing a 465-mile river highway that moves millions of tons of food and products worth billions through the Port of Lewiston to overseas markets, while providing thousands of jobs. This also helps keep 700,000 trucks off our highways, further reducing carbon emissions.
They provide vital irrigation to farmers in Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon to grow the crops that feed Northwest residents and are exported to the world. And as we all know, the wind doesn't always blow, but the rivers always flow. The dams play an important role filling in the energy gap when wind turbines are not spinning.
If the Statesman's editorial board had its way, the environment would be far worse off and the Port of Lewiston and all this economic activity would cease to exist.
Fortunately, Idahoans do understand the value of the Snake River dams, as evidenced by DHM Research 2011 polling which shows that an overwhelming majority -- 78 percent -- agree that removing them would be an "extreme solution that could do more harm than good."
Certainly, no one would begrudge the editorial board for rethinking its position. The facts speak for themselves. It's time to for them to re-examine this stubborn stance.
Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of over 100 farmers, utilities, ports and small and large businesses that relies on and promotes the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake rivers. RiverPartners members support salmon recovery policies based on sound science and cost effectiveness. See the current list of members below.
List of Members
- Adams County Farm Bureau
- Alcoa Inc.
- Asotin County PUD
- Associated Oregon Industries
- Association of Washington Business
- Avista Corporation
- Benton County Farm Bureau
- Benton PUD
- Benton Rural Electric Association
- Big Bend Electric Cooperative
- Bonners Ferry Cooperative, Inc.
- Burley, City of
- Cascade Locks
- Central Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Central Lincoln PUD
- Chelan-Douglas Farm Bureau
- City of Richland
- Clallam County PUD
- Clark-Cowlitz County Farm Bureau
- Clark Public Utilities
- Clarkston Chamber of Commerce
- Clatskanie Peoples Utility District
- Clearwater Power Company
- Columbia Basin Development League
- Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative
- Columbia-Blue Mountain Farm Bureau
- Columbia Gorge Community College
- Columbia Power Cooperative Assoc.
- Columbia River PUD
- Columbia Rural Electric Assoc.
- Consumers Power, Inc.
- Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative
- Cowlitz County PUD
- Douglas Electric Cooperative
- Eugene Water and Electric Board
- Fall River REC, Inc.
- Flathead Electric Cooperative
- Forest Grove Light and Power
- Franklin County Farm Bureau
- Franklin County PUD
- Grant County Farm Bureau
- Grant County PUD
- Grays Harbor County PUD #1
- Harney Electric Cooperative
- Hermiston Energy Services
- Hood River Electric Cooperative
- Idaho Consumer-Owned Utility Assoc.
- Idaho County Light & Power
- Idaho Falls Power
- Industrial Customers of NW Utilities
- Inland Power & Light Company
- Island County Farm Bureau
- King-Pierce County Farm Bureau
- Kittitas County Farm Bureau
- Kittitas County PUD
- Kootenai Electric Cooperative
- Lane Electric Cooperative
- Lewis County PUD
- Lincoln County Farm Bureau
- Lincoln Electric Cooperative
- Longview Fibre
- Lower Valley Energy
- Mason County PUD No. 1
- Mason County PUD No. 3
- McMinnville Water and Light
- Midstate Electric Cooperative
- Missoula Electric Cooperative
- Modern Electric Water Company
- Monmouth, City of
- Northern Lights, Inc.
- Northern Wasco County PUD
- Northwest Agricultural Products
- Northwest Requirements Utilities
- Okanogan County Electric Cooperative
- Okanogan County PUD No. 1
- Orcas Power & Light Cooperative
- Oregon Forest Industries Council
- Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative
- Oregon Wheat Growers League
- Pacific County PUD No. 2
- Pacific NW Utilities Conference Committee Pacific Northwest Waterways Assoc.
- Parkland Light and Water Company
- Pend Oreille County PUD No. 1
- PNGC Power
- Port of Lewiston
- Port of Pasco
- Puget Sound Energy
- Raft River Rural Electric Cooperative
- Ravalli County Electric
- Rupert, City of
- Salem Electric
- Skagit County Farm Bureau
- Snohomish County Farm Bureau
- Snohomish County PUD No. 1
- Springfield Utility Board
- Surprise Valley Electrification Corp.
- Tacoma Power
- The Boeing Company
- Tillamook PUD
- Umatilla Electric Cooperative
- United Electric Cooperative
- Vera Water and Power
- Vigilante Electric Cooperative, Inc.
- Walkley Farms, LLC
- Walla Walla County Farm Bureau
- Wasco Electric Cooperative
- Washington State Farm Bureau
- Washington State Potato Commission
- Wells Rural Electric Company
- West Oregon Electric Cooperative
- Whatcom County PUD No. 1
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