Monday, September 28, 2009

It's More Than Just The Dams

Cathy McMorris Rodgers uses an interesting choice of words when she voices her disapproval of considering the breaching of four Snake River dams.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) opposes dam removal.

“I’m concerned that, bottom line, this administration decided to put dams on the table,” she told, “and there have been some extreme environmental organizations that have been advocating for years that these dams be removed, and now they have an opening to continue to advocate for the dam removal.”

Her use of "extreme environmental organizations" is telling. The word "extreme" is useful for characterizing every environmental organization as if they were associated with the Earth Liberation Front. Eco-terrorist easily comes to mind. And "extreme" can also depend on your perspective. Her extreme adamance about keeping the dams intact is just as extreme to the extreme environmental organizations as their extreme position towards damn removal is to her extreme pro-business position. Or something like that.

Her concern that "this administration decided to put dams on the table" is an unnecessary poke at the administration. Why is this administration going to look at the possibility of breaching the dams? Because they were told to.

In May, U.S. District Judge James Redden had directed the agencies to tear up their previous plan and submit another. Redden has been critical of past plans, dating back as far as the Clinton administration, because they did not consider the possibility of removing the dams.

And back in May, McMorris Rodgers let us know how she felt about that in an op-ed printed in the Spokesman Review.

Once again, our way of life in the Northwest is being threatened. Today the threat isn’t from a politician or Wall Street financier. It’s from a judge in Portland.

I already covered that issue.

It's important to remember that the judge does not want to breach the dams. This is an extremely complex issue with many factors and parties involved and the judge is in an unenviable position of ensuring the requirements of the laws are being met. But that's his job and he's trying to do it well. If he's to decide on whether a plan passes muster, then the plan should cover all of the possibilities. And that is what's being done. The new plan is to include the possibility of breaching the dams.

Imagine going to your boss with a possible solution to a problem and she notices an obvious option is not even addressed. She asks you why and you answer, "We don't want to consider that possibility." How well would that be received? Well, essentially that is our congresswoman's position--we don't want to consider that possibility.

And rather than contribute to the discussion, she just tries to make political hay out of the matter.

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