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Lower Snake River Dams

Excerpt from letter to Orca Recovery Task Force and all concerned, February 10, 2019 from Howard Garrett, Orca Network

For most tax payers and rate payers such an unproductive federal expense would be considered another case of pork barrel politics, or a massive boondoggle. But for residents in the region the influx of federal money to agencies and contractors provides the foundations for regional economies, sustaining local development, governments, schools, libraries, etc. We can’t minimize the financial issues created by the prospect of curtailing this federal influx, though other Army Corps projects, dams, hatcheries, and restoration projects will provide commensurate employment in many cases.

Our challenge is to examine this wider picture of what happens when dam operations and barging cease. Feared economic challenges, not lack of available science or insurmountable disruptions, are the real reason for opposition to dam breaching in Eastern Washington. Funding concrete measures to assist with inevitable transitions, not more studies, is the solution. The question before us is not really whether to breach the four lower Snake River dams. They are decimating endangered salmon and orcas and return insignificant revenues.

The real question is how to close or realign the operations and facilities of the agencies collectively known as the Columbia Basin Federal Caucus, which include the Corps, Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries and other federal and state agencies whose purpose is to maintain the Snake River dams or mitigate for the harm the dams cause to endangered salmon.

The Case for Breaching the Four Lower Snake River Dams to Recover Wild Snake River Salmon was prepared by Carl Christianson, Biologist, retired USACE; Sharon Grace, Attorney; Jim Waddell, P.E., retired USACE and sent to the following officials.  November 2015  Sent to:  Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Governor Jay Inslee, LTG Thomas P. Boxtick  USACE, Jo-Ellen Darcy  USACE, Eileen Sobeck  NOAA, Sally Jewell  Secty, Dept of Interior, Christy Goldfuss CEQ, Sonya L. Baskerville DOE/BPA, Rep. Hans Dunshee WA State, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Derek Kilmer, Senator Mike Crapo Idaho, Rep. Rick Larsen, Governor Kate Brown Oregon, Jim Unsworth Director UDFW

Letter Re: Recovering Federally Endangered Killer Whales by Breaching the Four Lower Snake River Dams  January 24, 2015  Sent to:  Jo-Ellen Darcy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army  and Patty Murray, United States Senate

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