Monday, March 21, 2011

Congressman DeFazio at it again.

Congressman DeFazio (left) and Congressman Doc Hastings (right)

History is repeating itself. 

In March of 2009, on the day of a key hearing in Judge Redden's courtroom, the Oregonian printed an op-ed from Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), praising the federal government's salmon and steelhead plan for the Columbia-Snake Basin and basically telling Judge Redden to get over it.  Here is that op-ed.  We posted this long blog response shortly thereafter.

Just over a week ago, Congressman DeFazio was at it again, this time with Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA).  Read that here.  The themes are familiar: hard work - collaboration - fish are doing fine - just be done with it already. 

Now author Steve Hawley is back in the fray.  In the Oregonian, he takes Congressman DeFazio head on and offers a potential window for the Congressman to change gears.

We also thought it made sense to respond to some of the assertions mentioned in the DeFazio/Hastings oped.  Read Bipartisan Inaccuracies - A Response to Reps. Hastings and DeFazio.

Here's an excerpt from Hawley's piece: 

Therein lies the most offensive assertions put forth by Hastings and DeFazio. It's simply not true that water spilled over dams for fish translates into power generation that has to be made up by fossil fuels. In the short term, the region is sitting on a surplus of wind and hydropower. In the long term, enough can be accomplished through efficiency and conservation measures that not only could our long-term energy needs be met, but removing a few dams on the Snake could be accomplished without replacing the lost power with new generating plants. This news comes not from environmental groups, but from the agency responsible for recommending power plans and fish recovery measures to the BPA.

In the meantime, the cost of spill is calculated with a magical formula known as "forgone revenue." The BPA arrives at this number by assuming it owns all the water in the river, then charges the salmon recovery program for water that goes downstream without spinning a turbine. This surcharge amounts to half of what the agency claims it spends on fish. This accounting methodology exists nowhere else in natural resource economics. Imagine billing the Forest Service for the trees it didn't cut down. 

Read more of Hawley's oped in the Oregonian. 

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