Monday, August 20, 2012

Worst Dam Bill EVER

Earlier this month we brought you news of a bill brought forth by eastern Washington Congressman Doc Hastings. The bill which has been titled the Saving our Dams and New Hydropower Development and Jobs Act has been renamed simply the Worst Dam Bill Ever by sane observers. After 20 years of fighting for river restoration and salmon recovery this bill would take us back to the hydropower stone ages, a time when the federal government squandered millions of taxpayer dollars building hydropower and irrigation dams which not only blocked thousands of miles of salmon and steelhead habitat but also produced only a few cents on the dollar of tax payer investment.

Hastings who hails from Eastern Washington is a long time crusader for a return to the era of pork barrel dam projects and has a more than cozy relationship with the irrgation and hydropower lobbies. Among the highlights of the bill are:

  • Jeopardizes “spill” at the Columbia and Snake River dams – a salmon protection measure that significantly increases salmon survival.
  • Prohibits any federal money from being spent on removing, partially removing, or even studying the removal of any dam in the United States (public or private) that currently generates or at one time generated hydropower (without explicit approval from Congress).
  • Prevents any federal money from being spent on dam removal mitigation or restoration measures (without explicit approval from Congress).
  • Requires that Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) define “foregone revenue” as a fish and wildlife compliance cost.
  • Prevent any federal funding for important energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and initiatives proposed by the Department of Energy
Hastings and his cronies, troubled by the growing momentum of the dam removal movement are lashing out, flailing in hopes of defending their beloved slab of federal pork. This is the classic congressional dog an pony show, trotting out a bill that is ideological and destined to fail for the purpose of political credibility. However, its important that the residents of the Pacific Northwest speak out loudly against this bill and let our representatives and senators know that we want a future with wild salmon and steelhead. 

More in an editorial to the Spokane Spokesman Review:

Take action at Save our Wild Salmon's website:

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