Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Dam-It

In other environmental news, a federal judge has ruled that the Bush administration’s plan to save endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest is insufficient, and that the government may need to reconsider removing the huge dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. To be sure, those dams do harm salmon, and probably should come down--if we are serious about saving salmon. I’d like to see it put to an advisory vote in Oregon and Washington: I have little doubt how those two "green" states would vote. They’d vote to keep their cheap hydro power, and the salmon be damned, so to speak.

This episode raises another interesting point. Environmentalists always like to attack "corporate polluters" for our environmental problems. But it wasn’t a corporation that built those huge dams on the Columbia and Snake--it was FDR’s New Deal. Likewise, the chief culprit in the ecological ruin of the Florida Everglades was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nobody can trash the environment like the government can. But you don’t hear this very often from the greens, who desire above all else more government power. It would be "off message."

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This episode raises another interesting point. Environmentalists always like to attack "corporate polluters" for our environmental problems. But it wasn’t a corporation that built those huge dams on the Columbia and Snake--it was FDR’s New Deal.

There is quite a bit of a difference between this dam and corporate polluters. In the case of the dam, the long-term negative consequences on the environment were unforseeable. With corporate polluters, you have folks dumping toxic chemicals like chromium in the water or blowing limestone dust into the air knowing full well what the consequences will be for the environment and those who live within it.

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