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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

With Leak Report, Snake River Dams Could Be Showing Their Age

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Monday, November 28, 2022   

Four dams on the lower Snake River have been the sites of contention in the Northwest, and a recent report of an oil spill at one of the dams could be adding fuel to the fire.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported 300 to 600 gallons of oil leaked from the Little Goose Dam between August and October.

Mitch Cutter, salmon and steelhead associate for the Idaho Conservation League, said there have been similar incidences in recent years of leakage from the lower Snake dams.

"We're seeing the results of these dams being old, frankly," Cutter asserted. "They were started to be constructed in the '60s through the '70s, and I think we're seeing the result of infrastructure starting to outlive its useful life."

There has been a growing chorus of calls to breach the dams to allow for greater passage of endangered salmon and steelhead species in the region. However, there are also opponents of the plan. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., recently said there is "no clean-energy future" for the Northwest without these dams.

Cutter is skeptical of Newhouse's analysis, arguing the cost of keeping the dams has become too high to make financial sense anymore.

"They don't provide valuable services to the Northwest system or to the western energy grid," Cutter contended. "They can be easily replaced with other resources that cannot just replace everything these dams do. They would actually improve on the services they provide to the region."

Cutter also stressed it is important to keep iconic species such as salmon and steelhead front and center when discussing this issue.

"There are real solutions for how to replace everything these dams provide, but there's no replacement for wild salmon and steelhead in Idaho or in the Snake River," Cutter added.

Disclosure: The Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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