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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Proposed dam in Skykomish River

Dam would be costly, damaging

A fisherman stands in the Skykomish River, seen from Sultan, as snow falls in the Cascades. [Bettina Hansen, The Seattle Times.]

A fisherman stands in the Skykomish River, seen from Sultan, as snow falls in the Cascades. [Bettina Hansen, The Seattle Times.]

The impending July 19 deadline for comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about a proposed dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River takes on new urgency in light of the recent expensive disaster — the loss of nearly 200,000 juvenile coho salmon and 2,000 steelhead — associated with the Elwha River dam removal project. [“Hatchery pump gives way, killing thousands of coho,” NW Sunday, July 14.]

Why has the Public Utility District (PUD) determined that building a dam that is predicted to cost $150 million on the protected, pristine Skykomish River is a good idea, and why is FERC taking the proposal seriously?

Snohomish PUD states that the dam, titled “The Sunset Fish Passage Energy Project,” would ultimately increase fish populations. However, in its recent comment filed with FERC, the Snoqualmie Tribe stated that characterizing this hydroelectric project as a fish-passage project is “disingenuous and a misrepresentation.”

Like the Elwha of the 1920s, the Skykomish project includes untested innovations that could have unforeseen consequences.

Foreseen hazards include the loss of crucial habitat for endangered fish, the loss of one of the state’s last wild and scenic rivers, the potential release of heavy metals into the environment, and the irreparable loss of Native American archaeological resources.

To learn more and post a comment with FERC about the proposed Skykomish dam, visit http://www.savetheskyriver.org/

Rebecca Davis, Lynnwood

0 Comments | More in Environment | Topics: dam, energy, federal energy regulatory commission

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