The Dams Will Be Breached!Unless We Speak Up
by Robert Lonn - Northwest Council of Governments & Associations
WHEAT LIFE January 1999
The Northwest Council of Governments and Associates is dedicated to the preservation and growth of the economy of the Inland Northwest. The economic base of this region, agriculture, is in the eye of the storm, which is ominously circling overhead. The storm is a creation of environmental zealots who are more interested in plants, animals, birds and fish than they are in the human race. The centerpiece of the current issues is the "salmon recovery / dam removal" hysteria that in recent months has reached critical mass. The "save the salmon at any cost" disciples have brought the issue to near fruition. We are presently only months away from a decision concerning the dams. Unless we, the taxpaying citizens, stand up and voice our feelings, the dams will be breached!
I travel wherever I am asked, to speak about this and other issues that affect our economy, lives, businesses, and jobs. It's not just our dams that are being attacked. ICBEMP (Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project), No-dust Farming, Irrigation Water Reduction, the Kyoto treaty (Global Warming), American Heritage Rivers are other issues that will directly affect the economy. The key element of each of these items is missing from the discussions -- COMMON SENSE.
We are supposed to turn all thinking over to the "save the planet at all costs" groups. They would like us to understand that they and they alone have the answers to the great questions of the universe and the planet earth. Only they have the knowledge to save us from ourselves. Only they can rescue this sinking ship! They believe that we are too lazy and ignorant to rise to their level of knowledge. If we don't toe-the-line, and trust their every statement, then we are considered stupid and derelict, they believe, as caretakers of the planet. This is the gospel according to environmentalism.
Will the salmon runs be restored if the dams are removed? The geniuses who tout this stand think so, but they aren't completely sure. They say that dam removal will PROBABLY save the fish, that they won't know for, oh, maybe forty-five years or so! The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated at their meeting in November that if might take 100 years to determine whether or not the salmon will be saved. Excuse me, but . . . huh? Nothing has worked after all these years and billions of dollars so, why, pray tell, should we believe them now? The environmentalist record of success is not of a stellar nature.
My wife and I own a small farm in Lincoln County. We know grain prices and we know the cost of farming. We also know that if the economy continues to take these hits, agriculture will be in deep trouble. Natural disasters can cause poor crop yields and we can live with that. But, when the problems are caused by overzealous individuals and groups which are out to destroy our livelihood, our businesses, our jobs, our families, our very existence on this planet, in the name of environmentalism, then I take issue. I want the planet and its species to survive! I want clean water and nonpolluted land. I want harmony. I also want common sense to prevail. I will continue to work for a clean planet. But I will never stand back and let certain elements of society destroy the peoples' lives and livelihoods in the name of ecosystem survival.
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