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A federal review of the entire river will be worth watching

Editorial

 


The three federal agencies whose dams control the Columbia River system are rethinking the whole complex process, and that should make everyone pay close attention.

Next Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration will hold in Coulee Dam the second in a series of 15 public meetings from Wenatchee to Missoula to Astoria inviting the public to comment on the scope of work to include as it launches another massive effort to rethink the system in favor of ensuring endangered fish survival.

The rules of the effort the Pacific Northwest region had agreed on were eviscerated last May by a federal judge in Oregon, and now the agencies must consider the possibility that breaching a dam might make more sense, from a salmon’s perspective, than all the other efforts the agencies had agreed to pursue.

They have until January of 2018 to write a new Environmental Impact Statement for the whole river system, including the Snake River that hosts the dams most likely to be considered for a breach.

The “scoping meeting” at Coulee Dam Town Hall takes place from 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24. If you miss that meeting and the 13 others that come after it, you can still catch the “webinar” (an online seminar) on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

While we are glad the government makes the requisite attempts to engage the populace in such matters, and that it is using modern technology to help in that effort, we must ask: Why is it always on a bloody Tuesday night (our deadline)?

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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