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Know the West

Story's comparison was wrongheaded

  Dear HCN,

Your May 13 article on dams and Northwest salmon quoted a Boise teacher to the effect that removing dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers would only affect "15,000 jobs connected to the BPA, the Army Corps, the navigation industry, three lower Snake ports, eight aluminum companies, and 500 farms served by the Port of Lewiston." That comparison of the 8.7 million people in Washington, Idaho and Oregon "getting screwed by the 15,000" is astonishing, especially coming from a teacher who could be expected to know better.

As a Washington state resident I am going to be one of the millions directly affected by higher food costs from non-barged grain, higher aluminum costs from non-produced aluminum, and higher produce costs from non-farmed crops. Plus the costs of providing welfare for those 15,000 who lose their jobs and can't find other jobs. The worst of it is that overharvesting of fish has decimated fish runs worldwide, and not just in dammed rivers. Yet that major issue of overharvesting, plus the proliferation of natural predators such as raptors and sea lions, rated no mention in your article.

Maxine Keesling

Woodinville, Washington