R esponse to Kurt Miller, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners’ guest opinion. Miller wants to blame the decimation of Snake River salmon populations on anything but the four lower Snake River dams. So he invokes overfishing that took place 80 years ago and adverse ocean conditions.
If those sound like evasions, it’s because they are. Fish biologists agree that removing the dams is the most important step we can take to restore salmon whose populations have dropped by 90% since the dams were built. We have proof: The Elwha river salmon populations skyrocketed after the Elwha dam was removed.
We refute Miller’s claim that dam removal would threaten our power system or impede our ability to integrate renewables like wind and solar. A recent operational study by the NW Energy Coalition found that electricity provided by the dams can already be replaced by renewable resources at little cost with little or no increase in carbon emissions, improving the reliability of the energy system.
We don’t have to choose between restoring salmon and having a clean, affordable, and reliable energy system. We can have both. Now is the time to get it done.