Blog

Jan11

2017… New year, new challenges

In 2002, after conducting a seven year, $33 million dollar comprehensive study, the Army Corps of Engineers found that breaching the four lower Snake River dams had the highest probability of meeting the government’s salmon survival and recovery criteria.  In contrast, the Corps found that transporting fish around the dams and constructing expensive hardware improvements to the dams would be more harmful to salmon, than doing nothing.  Nonetheless, the Corps chose these latter two options.  The results have been predictable.  The government has wasted $$billions of our money, while salmon and steelhead are further from recovery than they were 15 years ago.  This unacceptable, expensive and harmful government conduct must change.

Perhaps the new administration will be better at ferreting out the waste and expense caused by the dams and stop propping up these wasteful dams that have devastated the local economy for decades.

Reasons to breach the four lower Snake River dams:

  • End government waste trying to maintain these pork barrel dams — for every dollar the government spends for the dams, 85¢ is wasted — the nation receives just 15¢ in economic benefit,
  • Save $100’s of millions for taxpayers & ratepayers,
  • Bring new money into the region that will support 2,500-4000 new full and part-time jobs,
  • Increase recreation spending in the region by at least $400M per year,
  • Reclaim valuable land and convey it to the State of Washington where proceeds from sale or lease could go into state school budgets,
  • Honor tribal rights granted in the 1855 Stevens Treaties and avoid expensive damages awards,
  • Recover endangered and threatened salmon so they can sustain $500 million fishing industry,
  • Recover endangered orcas so they can sustain $100 million whale watching ecotourism industry, and
  • Make room for renewable solar and wind energy waiting to be integrated into the transmission grid.

There has been a huge ground swell of public support for breaching, yet neither the Obama administration nor elected officials have acted to promote dam breaching.  And, the deadline for an emergency response action in December 2016 has passed.

Is it too late?  NO   Is there still hope?  YES!  The next best option for salmon and steelhead recovery is to begin drawdown in July 2017 followed by breaching Lower Granite dam in December 2017.  Hopefully, this summer’s weather will not be so warm that it causes mass fish die offs in the Columbia/Snake system as happened in June & July 2015.

2017’s strategies will include, but not be limited to the following;

  • Continue to submit comments into the CRSO / NEPA public scoping process through February 7th, 2017,
  • Continue to submit comments and exert public pressure on representatives and legislators in Washington, Idaho and Oregon,
  • Increase public pressure on Corps Headquarters in Washington DC, and
  • Forge new relationships with federal and regional officials and provide the facts supporting the irrefutable case for dam breaching.

Please check in frequently to see the latest action requests.  Thanks for all you do and for staying involved.  We are in this fight together.