Barges Mean Jobsby Arvid Lyons
Lewiston Tribune, May 2, 2004
Jobs: In a single word that is what is at stake in the failure to maintain the barge navigation channel in the inland waterways from Lewiston to Portland.
In the global market place international customers make purchasing decisions based on the cost of goods, quality of product and timeliness of delivery. The failure to meet those needs make PNW products second choice. The potential of losing economical barge transportation will serve to increase transportation cost thereby reducing industries' ability to participate in global markets. The doubling of costs by shipping from inefficient alternatives are passed along in the case of grain to the producer.
Those additional costs cause family farms to fail, companies to close and in general, economics to stall. At present maintenance dredging of the navigation channel by the Corps of Engineers is being blocked by the courts and barge shipping is being choked off by years of silt build-up. So when such groups such as American Rivers, Earth Justice League and others single out the Columbia and Snake river systems in lawsuits and label them as "endangered" river systems they create an abyss of hope by advocating higher unemployment that risks the jobs and livelihoods of over 50,000 river-dependent workers.
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