Monday, February 17, 2020
Feb. 17, 2020

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Letter: Snake River dams expendable

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Published:

Thank you for addressing the question of dam removal on the Lower Snake River (“Report underscores hazards of dam breaching,” The Columbian, Jan. 9). I do wish to take issue with the editorial, which seemed to endorse the study that was funded by dam removal foes, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association. Notably missing from the editorial was any mention of another study that was commissioned by ECO-Northwest, which gave some excellent reasons for removal of those four dams. These dams produce a small fraction of BPA’s hydroelectricity. They are aging and in need of major maintenance. River traffic in the Snake River corridor has dropped markedly since 2000. Renewable and low-cost energy is cheaper. These dams have an outsized impact on chinook salmon runs, which directly affects the struggling southern resident orca population. The editorial cited huge increases in train and truck traffic and the resulting greenhouse gases. This ignores the facts that river traffic on the Snake has declined sharply and the Lower Columbia remains navigable. All of this shows us we need to be objective when deciding our priorities.

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