You may have noticed that Democrat Governor Jay Inslee has been running around the state lately on his PR blitz pandemic victory lap. That’s has been leaving it to Democrat foot soldiers to keep up the steady drumbeat that the world is ending, forests are in flames because of climate change (and not because Inslee and other liberals have failed miserably at forest management), and that salmon are going extinct.
It’s harder to find climate warriors on the East side of the mountains, but Seattle greenies didn’t need to depend totally on the Democrat party to regular to carry their water. Over at the Spokesman Review, lefty opinion columnist (and they are just that, opinions), Shawn Vestal proved quite willing to jump into the debate over the Snake River dams, because evidently hydropower just isn’t quite green enough for him. Apparently, we need to rid ourselves of the evil renewable energy that hydro-electric dams provide, all in the erroneous claim that blowing up the dams will save salmon from extinction.
Washington State’s electricity sector is envied the world over, as renewable energy sources (including hydropower) generate 90% of our power, making us one of the most carbon free, cleanest energy generating states in the nation. Unfortunately for Vestal, that isn’t good enough, and he wants to see the four federal dams on the Snake River dams removed to save the salmon, which according to Vestal, will save the orcas.
The problem is, the facts (those pesky little things that newspaper editors used to insist upon, even for opinion columnists) show that the dams are not the primary problem with the recovery of salmon in Puget Sound (the food source for the orcas). Removing the dams will only marginally increase the fish population, at a cost of over $33 billion dollars and the loss of clean, electric hydropower for the state of Washington. Power we’ll certainly need if Inslee’s “electric car in every garage” future ever happens.
Vestal ironically cherry picked his data from dubious internet websites to reach his conclusion that the dams need to go, while accusing Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center of doing just that. The problem for Vestal, and the Spokesman Review which had to defend him, is that Myers has studied salmon population numbers and other natural resource issues in our state for years and not just 15 minutes as Vestal evidently had. Vestal seemed frustrated that Myers based his conclusions on facts, and not just on some quotes from a green activist who has argued for dam removal for years regardless of the facts. Vestal was even forced to retract his false accusation that Myers would not defend his writings, in an embarrassing incident for the Spokesman.
Unfortunately, even the abundant clean and cheap electricity – and cleaner transportation options for much of the area’s agricultural production – aren’t stopping Inslee and his extremist environmentalist friends from pushing for the removal of the lower four Snake River dams, supposedly to help with salmon recovery efforts (which apparently, according to the data, are already working).
Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown piled on earlier in the year, advocating for the removal of the dams and a big chunk of Washington’s clean energy. Washington’s congressional delegation was outraged at Gov. Brown’s attempted interference with the federally owned dams. Of course, Inslee played along as if it was a good idea to tear down his state’s clean, renewable energy- producing, hydroelectric dams.
The federal government, in an effort to educate governors Inslee and Brown, commissioned a report to study the four dams and the impacts if they were removed. The study concluded that removing the four dams would destabilize the power grid, increase overall greenhouse emissions, and more than double the risk of regional power outages.
As we previously reported here at Shift, environmental extremists stomped their feet and vowed to keep fighting, and Vestal’s latest feeble attempts appear to be just another salvo to advance the leftist agenda.
Unfortunately for Vestal and his cohorts, the facts don’t match hyperbole. The salmon population numbers are on their way up and even Vestal’s own newspaper acknowledges this. It doesn’t take much effort to debunk the fake news that the left puts out if you take the time to do the research.
Next time Shawn, perhaps you could do your homework before trying to make yourself look good in front of your Democrat bosses. Next time your Spokesman Review bosses might not be so eager to defend you.