Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Imagine hovering high above the drainage of the Columbia, that great river in the West. Its sprawling watershed includes all of Idaho, most of Washington, large parts of British Columbia, Montana and Oregon. Tributary rivers, streams and creeks pulse like arteries and capillaries.

Much like arteries, the tributaries help shuttle lifeblood from the heartland out to the continent’s coast. Much like veins, clouds from the Pacific Ocean trundle wetness back to our inland core. The Columbia River is a drudge because 14 major dams congest it. In its watershed ranging north and east, dozens of upcountry dams emboss its tributary streams like bad bling on a cashmere jacket.

Kris Johnson recently published a partisan op-ed in The Spokesman-Review (“Dams balance energy, wildlife needs,” Jan. 27). As president of the Association of Washington Business, Mr. Johnson is solicitous of business interests. He neglects sustainability to assist his constituents. That’s his job. He falsely argues that the four lower Snake River dams help salmon recover. His frail argument uses “alternative facts” and demonstrates how out of step he is with other citizens in the region.

Federal judges and regional governors – not to mention every conservation group in the nation – regard those dams as the worst of the worst. They block 500 miles of prime spawning habitat in wild Idaho. Those dams remain in place so a few farmers can ship their grain. At the same time, billions of dollars are being spent by the Bonneville Power Administration and state agencies to recover threatened salmon downstream. ...

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