Reading “Washington state board to uphold temperature limits in Columbia, Snake rivers” [June 29, Environment] made me feel like Alice through the looking glass. The world is backward when we must put fish in trucks on the freeway to protect grain in barges on a short section of the Snake River. This insane status quo isn’t working for fish or people.
The recent soaring temperatures demonstrated the need to modernize our energy system. Dams on the Lower Snake River are aging and expensive, and only produce a fraction of our energy needs.
Climate scientists predict extreme weather events are the new normal. So, both above and below the waterline, we need to do better. The state board’s announcement to require a hot water reduction plan is a significant step toward addressing the heat pollution that is pushing salmon runs to the brink of extinction.
And we can do more: We can have abundant salmon and steelhead, modernized agriculture and clean energy, and support economies up and down the river, with bold actions from our elected leaders to secure funding now. We urgently need members of Congress to work together to shape an infrastructure proposal and create a more prosperous and sustainable future for the Northwest.
Liz Hamilton, Oregon City, Oregon, executive director, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association