Congress Wields Its Power to
by Anthony Kuipers, for the Editorial Board
The future of four Snake River dams is still uncertain, and the chess match between those who favor the dams and those who oppose them wages on.
As the wave of dam critics grows, those who support the dams, like our very own Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, only strengthen their stance.
She and Rep. Dan Newhouse sponsored a bill to reverse a federal judge's order to spill more water from the four dams to help migrating salmon reach the Pacific Ocean. It was approved Wednesday.
"We are recognizing the role dams play in the Northwest and that dams and fish can co-exist," McMorris Rodgers told The Associated Press, taking what many would say is an overly optimistic stance on the matter.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon is skeptical, too, as evidenced by his March 2017 ruling to increase spillage. He felt the current plan to protect salmon was not adequate and wanted a new environmental study that considers the option of removing the dams.
Well, that did not sit well with McMorris Rodgers, who has made the dams a pillar of her campaign for years.
So she used her legislative power to try and reverse the judge's order.
Certainly there are reasons to dislike the order, as it is estimated spillage could increase power costs and create problems for irrigation.
Like any complex issue, both sides have legitimate arguments. What worries us is the power the U.S. Congress holds over this matter, and the willingness of our representatives to wield it, even if that means overturning a court order. McMorris Rodgers said she does not want judges to manage our river system, but are politicians, who are likely being influenced by special interests, a better option?
No matter what side of the chess board you sit on, you hope the other side does not cheat. And what McMorris Rodgers did feels a lot like cheating.
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