Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Free the Snake Flotilla, October 3rd
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Snowbrushy
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 1:30 pm 
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monorail wrote:
dams  they're the biggest problem.  And breaching them is by far the cheapest solution, since it is now costing far more to keep them in place

What does the study say about the social costs? Local homelessness, crime, poverty, job loss, mental health care to name a few.. Tear down the dams starting tomorrow and see what happens. A first class, expensive disaster.
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 1:49 pm 
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Snowbrushy wrote:
monorail wrote:
dams are not the only problem, I don't see how anyone can fail to see that they're the biggest problem.  And breaching them is by far the cheapest solution, since it is now costing far more to keep them in place

What does the study say about the social costs? Homelessness, crime, poverty, job loss, to name a few.. Tear down the dams starting tomorrow and see what happens. A first class disaster.

Numerous studies say that dam removal would be an economic boon to the region.  As I mentioned earlier, farmers are already shifting away from barges in favor of RR, which is a better deal for them.  (Barge traffic has declined by 69%.) There's huge potential for improvements to RR infrastructure, which would not only offset the loss of barge traffic, it would actually bring about improved transportation, along with new high-paying jobs in RR and freight transfer.
As far as "tearing down the dams starting to tomorrow": as I also mentioned earlier, even if legislation were passed tomorrow, it would be at least a decade-- probably two--  before any work actually began on dam removal.  Nobody's going to remove them overnight.

It would be wonderful if everyone could be guaranteed the same high-paying job for their entire life...  but for the overwhelming majority of people that simply is not the case---  not for me, and certainly not for the tens of thousands of people in the fishing industry who lost their livelihood thanks to the dams.  The world is always changing, and no one is entitled to stop it from turning.
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Snowbrushy
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 2:01 pm 
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monorail wrote:
farmers are already shifting away from barges in favor of RR, which is a better deal for them. 

Where is it written? The study. Where is the RR right of way?
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?14897-Milwaukee-Road-lines-in-Washington-state
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monorail
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Snowbrushy wrote:
monorail wrote:
farmers are already shifting away from barges in favor of RR, which is a better deal for them. 

Where is it written? The study. Where is the RR right of way?
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?14897-Milwaukee-Road-lines-in-Washington-state

https://www.hcn.org/articles/the-survival-of-the-lower-snake-dams-is-based-on-faulty-findings-why-not-tear-them-down

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/snake-river-barging-drop-new-factor-in-dams-debate/

Also, from a link I posted earlier in the thread:

Quote:
Myth 8: Removing the lower Snake River dams will hurt farmers and irrigators.

Reality: Removal of the lower Snake River dams need not have a detrimental impact on farmers in eastern Washington. Prior to the completion of those dams in 1975, grain and other products in the region were transported to market chiefly by rail and truck. Today, a significant portion of these products moves via barge from Lewiston, Idaho, or grain-loading facilities elsewhere on the lower Snake River. Recent studies have found that the 140-mile navigation channel created by the lower Snake River dams could be affordably and effectively replaced by upgrading the Northwest’s railroad lines. Upgrading railroads in southeastern Washington and Idaho to accommodate most of the grain currently moving down the lower Snake River (some would still be barged from Columbia River ports near Pasco, Washington) would not be cheap, but it can done cost-effectively.

Regarding irrigators in the Columbia-Snake basin, removal of the four lower Snake River dams could actually take pressure off upriver irrigators in Idaho, who under an aggressive non-dam-removal plan would need to let more water remain in the river to mitigate for the effects of the dams. And the relatively small amount of irrigated farmland along the lower Snake River (Ice Harbor Dam is the only one that provides irrigation for farms) could be replaced by extending intake pipes to a free-flowing river. Similarly, dryland wheat farmers could retain an affordable, reliable transportation system if some of the taxpayer savings from dam removal are invested in upgrading railroads, highways, and Columbia River barge facilities.

I don't see how the old Milwaukee RR line would be relevant.
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 7:50 pm 
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monorail, the two pieces you cite above are definitely eye-openers, but my question is:
it sounds like rail infrastructure requisite to replace barge infrastructure in some of the area does not exist. true? false?
if it's necessary to construct the rail infrastructure, who pays for that? private money? government money?
what about RR right-of-way easements?
has somebody done the math on this?

(and just my lousy two cents, but the HCN piece you cited reeks of Army Corps of Engineers incompetence.)

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monorail
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PostSun Oct 18, 2015 11:16 pm 
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I don't know much beyond what the articles said, but my impression is that it's mainly a matter of upgrading existing infrastructure, and/or resurrecting tracks that fell into disuse after the dams were built in the 1970s.
As for who pays for RR upgrades, I guess that would depend on Congress, and whoever might be involved in hashing out legislation.  Right now people are just trying to get them to consider it.  But keep in mind that the cost of keeping the dams is huge, and breaching them would bring about enormous savings.  I imagine a portion of that could be directed towards mitigating the impacts, i.e. upgrading the RR.
But this kind of thing is over my head, and anyway it's all in the abstract right now, with no legislation pending.  I suspect that as the costs of keeping the dams rises dramatically in the near future (they are due for some hugely expensive maintenance), politicians will start taking the idea more seriously, and then details will start getting hammered out.
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 12:57 am 
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well... from the numbers cited in the articles - costs of maintaining dam infrastructure - I'd think that it would certainly get somebody's attention, but if that's all Army Corps of Engineers, it's all DOI funding appropriations, which Congress doesn't seem to have any problem doling out.

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Snowbrushy
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 6:31 am 
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Ski wrote:
Congress doesn't seem to have any problem doling out.

Congress does have a problem with passing an act to decommission the navigable waters of the US.

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Jake Neiffer
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 6:35 am 
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Magellan wrote:
Can someone show me how we don't need the energy generated at these dams?

WA itself doesn't need it as the state produces a surplus of power.

Quote:
The state is an exporter of electricity to the Canadian power grid and supplies U.S. markets as far away as California and the Southwest

http://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.cfm?sid=WA
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drm
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 9:15 am 
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Jake Neiffer wrote:
WA itself doesn't need it as the state produces a surplus of power.

The question is who uses this power - created by the dams. Since these dams are a part of BPA, I assume that their power is used locally. Lots of power is contracted long term and just because somebody is exporting power doesn't mean they can stop and sell it instate instead. Also, even if it is used out-of-state, the power will still need to be replaced. We shouldn't be so provincial as to say the hell with everybody outside the state, especially if they are more likely to replace it with coal than we are.

As to railroads, the railroads that pass through the Columbia River Gorge are maxed out now. There is no room for more cargo and certainly no room for more lines there. Coal exports from the Pacific Coast have boomed in recent years and I think most PNW RR lines in general are pretty maxed out. Not to mention oil trains.
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 9:53 am 
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We shouldn't be so provincial as to say the hell with everybody outside the state, especially if they are more likely to replace it with coal than we are.

Agree for sure.

Reference I posted earlier seems to be incorrect- this article states 60,000 acres are irrigated from Ice Harbor.

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article32069199.html

The other 3 still appear not be used in that capacity.  Guess I should have read Monorail's post smile.gif
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NacMacFeegle
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 10:33 am 
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The problem with exporting power out of state is the huge amount that is wasted on the way. Generating power close to where its needed is far more efficient, and is a great argument for the small, factory built nuclear reactors that are currently in development.

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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 10:40 am 
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monorail wrote:
Effective power output from the dams is only a fraction of theoretical "nameplate" capacity

Yes, but I don't think that means we can get by without them.  They would have to be replaced with some other form of baseload power. Hydro is being throttled due to the intermittency of wind power.  RodF had some good posts in this regard before.
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Snowbrushy
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 10:49 am 
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drm
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PostMon Oct 19, 2015 12:58 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
The problem with exporting power out of state is the huge amount that is wasted on the way.

How much is lost depends on the length and type of line. I've read that it can range from 1% to 30%.

NacMacFeegle wrote:
Generating power close to where its needed is far more efficient, and is a great argument for the small, factory built nuclear reactors that are currently in development.

It seems like these have been under development as long as fusion reactors.  Even if they do come out, they aren't going to be in the middle of residential neighborhoods any more than large oil storage tanks are. I think rooftop solar is a better solution to avoiding transmission losses.
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