I’m a commercial fisherman, and healthy salmon populations are critical for my livelihood and restaurant-industry clients. I was deeply disappointed when the U.S. government finalized its decision to keep the Snake River dams in place. The government has failed to deliver what Northwest residents, tribes and small-business owners need: affordable clean energy, economic security and abundant salmon runs.
Our salmon are swimming toward extinction. However, this is our watershed moment, for Northwesterners are increasingly concerned and asking questions. Why keep dams that are destroying our valuable natural resources — our salmon fisheries — yet only supply about 5% of the region’s electricity?
The questions don’t stop there. After we’ve spent more than $17 billion, why haven’t salmon runs recovered? If we have to spend another $1 billion for upgrades and turbine replacements for the four dams in addition to at least $245 million every year just to maintain them, why don’t we trade the Snake River dams in for a truly workable solution that works for the whole state — farmers and fishermen alike?
Now it’s time to take our questions to Congress. Let’s ask for a comprehensive legislation package to fix the dam problem and recover our salmon.
Amy Grondin, Port Townsend