Removal of Four Dams
by Joan G. Harris
I was disappointed in President Bush's flippant remarks with respect to salmon and their relationship to the four dams on the lower Snake River during his recent visit to the Northwest.
It would appear that the president did not bother to look at the volumes of scientifically supported options of lower Snake River dam removal; otherwise he would not have made those statements. We need leadership in the region that solves problems, not divisive politics that ignores them.
The Snake River is one of the region's best opportunities for restoration. The Snake River has 70 percent of the recovery potential for the entire Columbia Basin. With the building of the four dams, hundreds of workers lost their jobs, and it was the main cause of at least one cannery closure at the mouth of the Columbia River.
The dams in question are of low value, providing only 5 percent of our energy needs. They can be replaced by clean, affordable, cost-effective and renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar. Barging currently used at the dams costs taxpayers much more than railways. With the infrastructure already present for rail, it is mindless to use barges at all.
We need forests growing along our waterways, keeping the water cool and clean for a healthy aqua system. By protecting our Northwest salmon, we will not only be protecting jobs but our overall economic and environmental health.
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