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Commentaries and editorials

Weighting the Scale

by Scott Levy
Idaho Statesman, November 28, 2006

Our Power Council delegate Judi Danielson writes (Nov. 9) "Per-dam survival of juvenile spring chinook now averages around 98 percent." This contradicts NOAA fisheries reporting that this year's juvenile chinook survival, the best yet recorded, was only 58 percent.

At this year's adult sockeye release into Redfish Lake, I directed Judi's attention to the pine beetle-killed forest surrounding her.

She politely smiled, as we both knew that she would not be funding Idaho State University's neural network investigation of a correlation with the disappearance of Idaho's sockeye.

Instead, Judi tells reporters, "Removing those four (Lower Snake) dams will sterilize the river with silt ... then we'll have no salmon." Yet she refuses to fund any studies that would validate her claim. Nor will she fund a national laboratory study of salmon mortality associated with the locks of eight downstream dams. Six billion spent so far, and lock passage has yet to be investigated.

As priority No. 1, Power Council delegates are to balance a reliable power supply with fish concerns. But as the butcher asks us to buy the promise of salmon thriving in Idaho, I wonder if I am not to notice the thumb placed firmly on the scale.

Scott Levy, host of
Weighting the Scale
Idaho Statesman, November 28, 2006

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