Tax Money Better Spent on Dam Removalby Jesse Feathers; Seattle
Tacoma Tribune, September 13, 2002
Pro-dam forces claim that taking out the Snake River dams will hurt both the Northwest energy supply and economy. But a new RAND study (TNT, 9-6) states just the opposite - that only 5 percent of our energy comes from these dams, that this 5 percent can be easily replaced by clean energy sources and that the economy will improve with the creation of 15,000 new jobs, primarily in recreation and rejuvenated fisheries.
For years, salmon advocates have made these arguments along with pointing out that the four dams in question provide water for only 13 irrigators, that the costs of maintaining the dams and barging salmon far outweigh the shipping benefits farmers receive, and that taxpayer money would be better spent on dam removal, habitat improvement and new infrastructure for the Inland Empire (for example, highways and railroads to transport farm produce).
But the Rand study comes from independent experts and sends an even more forceful message: Act now to remove the Snake River dams, save our wild salmon and improve our economy. Further, ignore the mythology of a great economy supported and engendered by dams.
(bluefish notes: "taxpayer money" should actually read "ratepayer money" as the money comes from the region's electric rate payers.)
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