As a Snohomish County PUD ratepayer, I am offended by officials presenting a false choice of affordable energy or healthy salmon. The PUD is claiming the need for a 4 percent rate increase in 2006 due of a potential court order to “spill” water over dams to aid endangered Columbia and Snake river salmon. This is a scare tactic. Our region’s economy and culture depends upon having both affordable energy and healthy salmon.
Earlier this year, scientists confirmed that washing salmon over the dams dramatically increases the survival of young salmon during their migration toward the ocean. And during this same period, despite earlier predictions of wildly escalating rates, BPA actually lowered them by nearly 2 percent.
Without washing salmon over dams on the Snake River in 2005, 90 percent of its fall chinook would have been sucked from the river into trucks and barges and driven hundreds of miles downstream – a costly federal practice that has not stopped the decline of salmon after 30 years.
It is dishonest for the PUD to use salmon recovery as the scapegoat for its proposed rate increases. Ratepayers do not have to choose between affordable energy and healthy salmon run – we can and should have both.