Rep. Hastings Questions Panel on Dams, Hydropower

Aug 17, 2012

A Washington congressmen returned to his hometown Wednesday to promote a bill protecting hydropower dams from removal. Courtney Flatt of EarthFix reports from Pasco, Washington.

U.S. Representative Doc Hastings wants to prohibit the use of federal money to remove dams -- or even study the possibility without congressional approval.

The Pasco Republican says recent high sockeye counts prove that salmon can live with dams.

Hastings: “With the evidence of these fish runs that are coming back in greater numbers, does this not prove that dams and saving fish can coexist?”

Glen Spain questioned Hastings’ conclusion. He said too few salmon make it past the dams when ocean conditions are poor. Spain is the regional director of a fishing trade group that opposes Hastings’ bill. Hastings is an ardent defender of the four lower Snake River dams in his district. An environmental coalition is calling for the dams’ removal.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio