Ladies and Gentlemen,
I can only comment from a layman point of view, however from my limited study a few things jump out at me.
The 4 dams being considered for demolition were built and activated in the 1960's and early 70's. Much is said about the Orcas; that their population is shrinking. Their population in 1995 was 100 and now is about 80. This reduction is speculated to be due to the decline in salmon which is their main source of food and the reduction in salmon is because the fish are not able to procreate in the numbers they could before the 4 dams on the lower Snake River.
This makes me ponder how the Orcas thrived for the 30 years between the 60's and the 90's when the dams were in place and active? As I understand it the average life expectancy of the Orcas is about 30 years.
Have you taken into account other cause/effect actions? Have you looked at the decline as it relates to what Fukushima and the tsunami had on the waters of our north west and beyond? It continues to contaminate. We are aware of debris washing up on our shores that are contaminated. This contamination will not only harm/deplete salmon but all living organisms in the ocean. I'm guessing that, like us humans, if the best cut of meat is not available it will take other species in order to survive. Like us humans, we would resort to a hamburger. Could it be that the salmon population decline is part and parcel related to Fukushima?
Do we have Orca population data pre the 60's and for that matter pre the 4 dams below the Snake on the Columbia River?
I was able to attend one of the public comment meetings which was a lot of my learning and showed me where and how to look for and study further. Suffice to say that hydro is hands down the most reliable source of electricity that man has developed and with the least amount of harm to our environment.
Prior to the building of the 4 Snake River dams there was for many years the 4 dams on the Columbia. It seems to me that if the 4 Snake dams can have an adverse effect on the salmon then should it not be the same situation that the 4 Columbia dams affect the salmon? As I understand it, all of these dams have fish ladders. So what is next? The removal of the Columbia dams?
One needs to be a mathematician to play in the numbers game related to power and what technology does best. I will not comment except to say there is considerable data that is available to the public to suggest that we, the consumer will be the ultimate loser both as it relates to our environment and our pocketbook should the dams come down in favor of less dependable energy producing technology.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
John O'Neil, Kalispell, Montana