Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A new coordinated effort is underway to convince newspapers across the state, local and state lawmakers, and the general public that removing the Snake River dams is a great idea. This effort includes a “farmer” from Eastern Washington partnering with a Seattle-based public relations firm to issue press releases, meet with editorial boards, and influence legislators. It appears they are attempting to capitalize on their interpretations of the “social implications” of removing the dams, rather than the economic, environmental or agricultural implications.
I was on KONA radio this week with my seatmate, Rep. Mary Dye, discussing this issue. You can listen to that interview here.
Besides my general distaste for downtown Seattle politicians trying to tell us in Eastern Washington how we should live, work and raise our families, the issue of removing the Snake River dams is very personal for those of us in the agriculture community. The barge system on the river serves as an inland water highway and allows our products to get to market quickly and efficiently, allowing us to stay competitive. One study showed that removing the dams would eliminate the barges, which in turn would put about 700,000 more semi trucks back on our highways. What is the environmental cost of putting that carbon into the air? Or the potential highway travel risk of that many more trucks on the road?
Years ago, the effort to remove the Snake River dams was predicated on the need to save the salmon. When that didn't work, we're now being told we need to remove the dams to save killer whales. Yet, a publication by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows this to be a false assumption:
Then we have the main point Seattle environmentalists seem to either want to ignore completely or skew audaciously: hydropower. Hydropower provides nearly 60% of the Northwest's electric energy and 90% of its renewable energy. Hydropower is clean, renewable and affordable for ratepayers. Here in Washington state, we are the envy of EVERY other state in the nation when it comes to our affordable, clean, renewable hydropower. Yet there are those who would have us throw that all away for questionable and unproven possibilities of increased salmon runs.
I am very passionate about this issue and refuse to put fish before families. I will work against any effort to remove the Snake River dams. But I'd like to know what you think. Should the Snake River dams be removed? You can take my quick online survey here.
Special session(s)? Again?
With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and the governor's mansion, they can pass any bill they want. There's only so much the minority party can do from a parliamentary standpoint to stop it. With this much one-party control, surely the Legislature can adjourn on time?
It's not looking that way. They are arguing with themselves about which taxes to raise and by how much, as well as a possible cap-and-trade scheme. It's unfortunate that the majority party in Olympia can't get their work done in the constitutionally allotted 105 days.
Thank you for staying involved and allowing me to serve you in Olympia. As always, please feel free to contact my office with your questions or concerns about state issues. We're here to help.