We should add clean energy and keep Snake River dams

Regarding the plan to remove the four Snake River hydroelectric dams as recently reported (“GOP congressman pitches $34B plan to breach Snake River dams,” The Herald, Feb. 7), removing those dams is a nice idea, which we should do someday, but only after the entire Western interconnection power grid has 100 percent renewable power.

Supporters of dam removal are ignoring climate change. Yes, the fate of salmon and orcas is important, but it would be irresponsible to remove a gigawatt of carbon-free power and pumped-hydro regeneration.

Congressman Mike Simpson’s plan calls for replacing the power generation with clean, renewable sources at a cost of $10 billion. That’s nice. However, we should build that clean power and keep the clean dams. The new power generation could replace coal plants elsewhere in the western U.S. The environmental groups support the dam removal goal without regard to climate change. Where is their logic!?

Supporters of dam removal are blinded by their nice desires to save the salmon. They should explain their logic to the billions of people (including us) who will be hurt by climate change: “Hurray, we built 1 gigawatt of clean power and then we removed 1 gigawatt of clean power, so salmon can hopefully swim more easily.” The net benefit for stopping climate change is zero.

Remember the images of the Titanic sinking, going down nose first? These dam removal supporters would be busy putting the sliding deck chairs back into place, which effectively puts them in the same camp with climate change deniers.

Conrad Seelye


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