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The Columbia and Snake rivers of the Pacific Northwest once hosted the world's greatest wild salmon runs, with up to 16 million fish each year. Today, it is the most heavily dammed river system on Earth. In fact, four dams on the lower Snake River are driving all remaining Snake River salmon toward extinction. Southern Resident orcas, which rely on these salmon as a primary food source, are starving as a result. Less than 80 of these unique marine mammals are left.
Tell them it is time remove the four lower Snake River dams to ensure a future in the wild for salmon and orcas.
Dear Administrator Mainzer, Commander Spellmon, and Director Lee,
Endangered Southern Resident orcas depend on wild salmon as their primary food source. You can't recover orcas without talking about salmon. And you can't recover salmon in the Pacific Northwest without talking about the four outdated, salmon-killing dams on the lower Snake River.
Scientists have concluded that the single best thing we can do to save wild salmon in the region is to take down these four lower Snake River dams. You must consider this alternative fully and fairly in the court-ordered environmental impact statement you are preparing for managing the Columbia and Snake River dams.
Your analysis of this alternative must be based on the best available science about salmon and other species that depend on them, including endangered Southern Resident orcas. Your analysis must also fully account for the market and non-market economic costs and benefits of dam removal, including the benefits of a restored river and the money tax and rate-payers will save if the dams go. You must incorporate in your evaluation replacing the electricity from these dams with low-cost carbon-free power, not power from fossil fuels.
Such an analysis will lead you to conclude that these dams must go. We don't need them anymore — but we do need to bring back our irreplaceable wild salmon. The biggest step we can take on the path to salmon restoration in the Snake — and preservation of our precious Southern Resident orca population is to remove the lower Snake River dams.
Thank you for your attention,