Dams Away!

The RAND corporation, one of the earliest U.S. military think tanks, released a report on the implications of using alternative power-generation technologies to meet future energy demands in the Pacific Northwest. It concludes that a mix of renewable wind and solar power and increased energy efficiency could produce 20 percent of the future electricity currently slated to be produced by natural-gas-fired generation and by hydroelectric dams on the Snake River without much impact on the economy. These changes would also reduce air pollution in the whole Northwest region. The report also indicates that the lower Snake River dams could be removed without hurting regional economic growth and employment—though area farmers will need government help in modifying their irrigation systems.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2003
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