Schoesler: Army Corps’ rejection of Snake River dam-breaching ought to end the argument

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement Friday, after release of a long-awaited draft environmental impact statement on Snake River dam operations. The report, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration rejected proposals to breach the four lower Snake River dams, saying benefits to salmon were outweighed by adverse impacts to transportation, power reliability and affordability, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“How many times do the feds have to tell us dam-breaching makes no sense before the activists finally take no for an answer?

“Every time breaching gets a fair hearing, the idea is rejected. Then the breaching advocates queue it right up again. But after 30 years of argument, the problems are so well known, and the conclusions are so obvious, that I think it’s finally time to accept the decision and move on.

“Dam-breaching would be a disaster for Southeast Washington, our state and the Pacific Northwest. It would drive up the cost of shipping our region’s wheat. It would degrade air quality. It would devastate the economy of our region. And it would eliminate an enormous source of clean, cheap electricity at a time when we are phasing out coal plants and supply is running short.

“We need the dams more than ever before. It’s time for us to thank the federal agencies responsible for the Columbia/Snake system for entertaining this idea so many times and evaluating it carefully and respectfully. This should be the end of it. And rather than spending a billion dollars of public money on a dam-destruction scheme, we can start thinking about habitat restoration, hatchery expansion and other programs that make sense for the salmon.”