Report Supports Removing 4 Dams on Snake Riverby Matthew Daly, Associated Press
Seattle Times, September 5, 2002
WASHINGTON -- Breaching four Snake River dams in Eastern Washington would neither hurt economic growth in the Northwest nor erode the region's power supply, according to a new report by the Rand Corp.
The report, released yesterday, says the dams provide just 5 percent of the power in the Pacific Northwest and could be removed with little impact on the overall economy.
Removal of the dams could help the region diversify its power supply, the report says, while providing up to 15,000 new jobs over 20 years, primarily in recreation.
Environmentalists hailed the report, saying it provides clear-cut evidence that dam removal is in the region's best interest. Conservationists have long pushed to breach, or remove the earthen parts of the dams, to hasten recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead.
"The Rand report rejects the myth that dam removal must pit jobs versus wildlife," said Pat Ford, head of Save Our Wild Salmon, an advocacy group.
But U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Spokane, whose district includes Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams, said the report didn't convince him breaching is a good idea.
Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, neutral on dam breaching in office, said, "Once they've served their purpose, they ought to come down."
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