BPA Mitigation Not Worth Lives of Migrating Salmonby Joseph Bogaard, Save Our Wild Salmon
Letters, Seattle Post-Intelligencer - June 18, 2004
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is right: Any steps to reduce spill -- the water that helps young ocean-bound salmon migrate past lethal Columbia-Snake River dams -- are steps in the wrong direction. Despite clear, demonstrable harm to migrating endangered and non-endangered wild salmon and steelhead, the Bonneville Power Administration wants to reduce spill in order to generate more power and increase its revenue by up to $30 million. This latest proposal still faces stiff opposition from scientists and salmon, fishing and tribal representatives because the proposed "off-sets" -- actions offered by BPA to mitigate the harm caused by reducing spill -- are inadequate to protect our salmon and the communities that depend upon healthy, harvestable, self-sustaining populations.
BPA also claims reducing spill will save ratepayers money on energy bills. How great are the savings to people like you and me? On average, about a dime each month. Northwest conservation and fishing advocates recognize the importance of affordable energy. With this proposal, however, BPA cynically and unnecessarily pits wild salmon recovery against regional power needs. We can have both.
A number of recent studies, including by the Northwest Power Council, identify nearly 3,000 average megawatts (almost three times the energy produced by the four lower Snake River dams) that can be captured through competitive, cost-effective investments and sold as "new" energy to meet demand. This approach would provide significant relief to regional ratepayers while allowing spill to continue. A win-win for the region.
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