Hopefully, our readers are aware of Congressman Simpson’s support of busting 4 dams on the Columbia River siding with Governor Inslee and the two democratic senators from the State of Washington. If you haven’t we urge you to read Dr. Livingston’s latest article, The Mike Simpson Wilderness of No Return in this issue of the GSP.
These dam-busting politicians want to use $33 billion of Federal Funds to start the process of breaching the dams and they have admitted that they have no idea if breaching these dams will do anything to help the salmon.
These dams are not even in Simpson’s district, so we have to wonder why he would want to breach these dams. A Federal Report last year with input from all stakeholders and government agencies strongly recommended not breaching the dams because of the severe economic impact.
We reached out to Congressman Russ Fulcher to ask his opinion on this breaching of these dams and what effect it would have on Idahoans.
Congressman Russ Fulcher’s Remarks about breaching these four dams
Removal of the 4 lower Snake River dams would have a devastating impact on the economy, safety, and culture of the western United States. These dams play a critical role in providing irrigation, energy, transportation, flood control, and recreation to our citizens throughout the west.
More specifically: These dams produce essential, low-cost, carbon-free hydro-power that cannot easily be replaced. They also enable the series of ports all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho – providing cheap, green transportation for our Ag and timber exports.
Agriculture is still the primary economic driver in the Pacific Northwest. These dams were put in place over decades with much planning and at great expense – they were put there for a reason. Take away the dams and a lot of our farmers will get taken away with them.
Many people don’t realize that the design and placement of these dams allows for significant flood control; and given the uncertain future of the US-Canadian Columbia Basin Water Treaty… that’s a big deal. Plus, reservoirs provide for recreational opportunities and this is a growing source of employment and revenue for the region.
The goal of proponents is to save Sockeye Salmon migration levels. We all want to save fish…that’s a noble cause. But experts and even the proponents for dam removal concur that such action may or may not help. Documented studies of comparable water systems without dams (such as the Fraser River) indicate similar salmon migration trends. There are many factors to consider. Our focus needs to be on solutions that prioritize both salmon, and human needs.
What really amazes us is that Congressman Simpson is aligning with 3 democrats to work on a project that could devastate Idahoans economically. Our question is could there be an ulterior motive to Simpson’s support of this project, what might it be, and is he getting pressure from lobbyists for his support to breach these dams?