Readers respond to Lower Snake River Dam removal study and to local emergency room workers

click to enlarge The Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River, near Kahlotus, Washington. - COLUMBIA BASIN FEDERAL CAUCUS PHOTO
Columbia Basin Federal Caucus photo
The Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River, near Kahlotus, Washington.
DAM IT!

Regarding the assessment of the costs and benefits of Lower Snake River dam removals (see "The $375,000 Question," 1/2/20) by Gov. Inslee: Unfortunately, our Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers is blinded by her religious devotion to agri-business and their willingness to destroy sea-run salmon in the Snake River System, one of the largest salmon-producing watersheds in the entire Columbia Basin. Inslee is well justified to seek this review at this time since all the dams are in Washington state. She and Rep. Dan Newhouse should commend Inslee for only spending 50 percent of the funds allotted for the review. The report shows how lame and one-sided the excuses are for leaving the dams standing.

All the farmers need to do without the dams is to truck their grain and beans to Pasco and put their produce on barges there instead of the Lewiston-Clarkston area. They have received billions of dollars in other farm subsidies beside these dams; it is time for them to give back to the people of the Pacific Northwest at this critical time for salmon. The irrigation near the lowermost dam's reservoir also seems trivial compared to our dire need for salmon recovery in the Snake River watershed.

If we keep doing the same thing year after year over decades and it does not recover the runs, then it is time to do something different, and dam removal is the most intelligent alternative.

James Bergdahl
Spokane, Wash.


ANGELS IN THE ER

I have had the good fortune, or misfortune (depending on how you look at it), to have been in three hospital emergency rooms in the last four months for family-related health issues. St. Mary's in Long Beach, California, Providence and Deaconess in Spokane, Washington. What I found was both disheartening and inspirational. Disheartening, because many patients were there because it was the only access they had to general medical care. I found this to be a pathetic indictment against our current health care system because it is so costly and ineffective. Inspirational, because the compassion and caring for patients was evident.

At each hospital, I viewed some of the patients to be discourteous and belligerent to the workers. In every case, staff members maintained their composure and compassion in this extremely stressful environment. If you are looking for everyday heroes — and maybe even angels — look no further than the people in your local hospital emergency room. We are all the better for having them to care for us.

Frank DePasquale
Spokane, Wash.

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