Breeching the Dams

Destry Olson
Mrs. Smith
English IV Honors
11 March26 January 2010
Breeching the Dams: Removing a Constant Clean Energy Source
      With the always-pending questions of what our energy sources will be in the future, the rising prices of energy nationally and globally, and the shortfalls of the current power grid today, removing any sources that contribute to the availability and production of power would seem rather foolish and could end up quite costly. Dams produce twenty percent of the power generated across America, and in certain areas, dams are the difference between people having power and living in a world without electricity (Hamilton). The dams on the lower Snake River contribute a considerable amount of power to communities like Lewiston and Clarkston. Breeching the series of four dams on the lower Snake River corridor will do more harm to the environment and the economy than it would benefit either.
      If the dams on the Lower Snake River were breeched, or removed, the loss of power to the local power grid would be the most problematic outcome. The four dams are the Lower Granite, the Little Goose, the Lower Monumental, and the Ice Harbor dams. These dams account for five percent of the power that is generated in the region. These dams have been paid for by Idaho taxpayers, have, over time, reduced the cost of power, and are very consistent, reliable and stable sources of energy.
      The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the cost of removing the dams, and doing so in a timely manner, can exceed 300 million dollars per year (Hamilton 2). Most of this cost is due to the replacement of the power that would be lost with new natural gas-powered turbines. These costs would burden northwest energy users, and the large costs generated by the breeching the dams would increase each household’s energy costs by several dollars per month. This may seem a minor concern, but it could put a significant strain on some people’s financial...