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Snake River Dams--Conservative Hypocrites

Debra Ellers, retired Idaho business attorney and conservation/social justice advocate.

It's amusing to see so-called "conservative" Republicans like Rep. McMorris-Rodgers scramble to save the taxpayer-subsidized, aging Lower Snake River Dams.  Federal agencies own and run these dams, using federal taxpayer and BPA ratepayer money.  They epitomize the big government Republicans supposedly oppose.

Notably, President Eisenhower, a great Republican statesman, adamantly opposed the building of the four Lower Snake River Dams (LSRDs). Only a backroom maneuver from Washington’s powerful Democratic Senator Magnuson allowed the first dam, Ice Harbor, to get underway in 1956.

And Idaho’s conservative Republican Congressman Simpson’s comprehensive plan for breaching the LSRDs and saving endangered salmon will ultimately save taxpayer money.

The LSRDs weren't fully completed until 1975. They weren’t needed then, and aren’t needed now, whether for power, irrigation or navigation. Example: Palouse wheat farmers got their wheat to worldwide markets for over a century via rail, without using the lower Snake's expensive taxpayer funded locks and navigation system. They can use rail again.

What's really going on here is that McMorris-Rodgers, Newhouse et al. want to save the federal pork coming into their districts for hatcheries, ports, and other “services” related to the dams. 

Federal taxpayers and electric customers have had over $20 billion of their money wasted on failed mitigation fixes for the dams like the "Juvenile Salmon Bypass Facility" depicted in the photo above.  But that's lots of pork for local contractors and the federal government employees working on these failed projects.

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