Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers certainly has one thing correct in her guest opinion (May 30): our Northwest way of life is threatened. Four dams built in the 1960s and ’70s on the Lower Snake River have had their predicted effect. They have destroyed salmon runs that are a common wealth for communities from Alaska to Washington, Oregon, California and the mountains of Idaho. Thousands of family-wage jobs depend on the long-term viability of these runs, and folks deserve real solutions.
Not only have these four dams destroyed our salmon, they have cost the American taxpayer far more than they have given us. These bloated federal projects have cost $11 billion since 1987 and will cost the public another $15 billion to $18 billion in the next 20 years. This cost for 1,000 megawatts (4 percent of the Northwest grid) of power per year. The BPA says that 4,600 megawatts of wind power are in the pipeline and could be contributing in five years.
Clinging to these four dams while not looking for the solutions for communities who will inherit our region is both shortsighted and misguided. We need real progress and dialogue from our elected leaders, not inaction and misinformation.