Originally posted at Human Events.
In the name of saving salmon, radical environmentalists in Northern California have concocted a $1.4 billion plan to destroy four hydroelectric dams and dramatically restrict water to hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland. However, an independent panel of scientists hired by the federal government to review the proposal has determined the primary goal of the deconstruction project is based on junk science.
According to the just-released 350-page assessment, funded by the Fish and Wildlife Service, experts expressed “strong reservations” that the expensive effort could significantly increase the Chinook salmon population in the Klamath River system.
As usual, the environmentalists were caught ginning up their case to destroy the dams using phony data. In this case they concocted an imperfect computer-generated model to cast the dams as evil salmon-killers.
The report states, “There are many pieces of information we do not know about the Klamath system, and none we know with absolute certainty. The process of developing the model, trying to reproduce historical conditions … must be internally consistent.”
In other words, just like the climate models that are used to scare humanity into ending the use of fossil fuels, the anti-dam eco-freaks were caught doing the very same junk in, junk out shuffle.
Perhaps the most laughable aspect of their agenda involves annually plucking fish out of the lower Klamath River, placing them in huge rolling aquariums, and trucking the creatures more than a hundred miles to the upper Klamath.
I’m not kidding. It’s called “trap and haul.”
Says the report: “A perpetual trap-and-haul program may be needed to provide adult Chinook salmon, especially the fall run, with access to the upper basin during much of the migration period.”
Not only would such a program be costly, the panel agrees fish would likely die in the process.
The four large dams on the Klamath River, which originates in Oregon, are used to irrigate 210,000 acres of cropland in both Oregon and California. In addition to the precious water, hydropower from the dams’ generators supplies emission-free electricity to 150,000 households. However, environmentalists have never been known for their empathy toward the human race. They’ll saddle up with a banana slug or garter snake long before they’d front for Homo sapiens. In this case, they’ve hooked up with the salmon, saying the water quality created by the dams has depleted the fish population.
Environmentalists have never liked these dams. After decades of battle, a collage of eco-groups, government bureaucrats and the utility that runs the dams (PacifiCorp, a corporation owned by the Berkshire Hathaway investment fund and run by wealthiest liberal in the world Warren Buffett) finally created a pact that calls for the removal of the dams, beginning in 2020. The agreement also includes extensive restoration programs for fisheries and migrating birds, plus renewed guarantees—albeit at a severely reduced rate—of water deliveries to farmers. The project must be approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (slam-dunk) and Congress. Federal officials are to rely on reviews by the independent panel, federal agencies and others to determine whether the decommissioning is in the public interest. This first analysis is not helpful to the dam-wreckers.
Let’s walk through this idiotic plan one more time. Dams that provide “green” electricity to 150,000 households (perhaps as many as 600,000 people) will be torn down, causing 210,000 acres of prime farmland to suffer critical water reductions. Big trucks blowing carbon dioxide out their tailpipes, filled with fish, will annually hit the road in a bizarre trap-and-haul scheme designed to save the salmon.
And the potential benefit to the Chinook population? According to the experts, the net increase in spawning fish will be a mere 10%. All this for $1.4 billion.
And how do the greenies try spin the massive expenditure required to deconstruct the dams? According to the Klamath Riverkeepers, the spending “means new jobs in Siskiyou County and a huge cash influx to local businesses.”
Riverkeepers fails to note the inevitable higher food prices due to less available water for crop irrigation. They’re also hush regarding the increases in electricity rates once the cheap hydropower is gone. Oh, and they don’t mention that PacifiCorp customers will take an additional hit when the utility passes along its share of the cost for deconstruction: $200 million.
As for the rest of the funding, federal taxpayers will pump in nearly $1 billion for water management, habitat restoration and never-ending monitoring efforts, and the state of California would provide as much as $250 million in bond money (which is a pipe dream because California is financially insolvent).
Congress needs to make sure this plan is junked. We need more dams
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