Strength in fish runs

Taxpayers spent upwards of $17 billion to recover salmon in the Snake-Columbia Basin without return. Congressman Simpson’s recent announcement promises to invest wisely — in clean energy, communities, river restoration, and our future as a region.

The Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine was the first dam removal project in 1999. Its removal was pivotal in the environmental movement, showing us what happens when human obstructions are removed from rivers. The dam removal created an economic boom for the town of Augusta and successfully restored annual migrations of near extinct alewife fish to upwards of 5 million! Abundance and biodiversity are indicative of successful river restoration; the Kennebec watershed hosts the highest density of bald eagles on the east coast.

Across the United States, dams serve antiquated messages. There are more proficient ways to generate electricity. Solar and wind costs fell from 90 percent and 71 percent, respectively, from 2009-2020. Solar and wind costs continue to decline and their percentage of generation is rising. Statistics show that clean electricity is generated without dams. Watersheds are imperative to ecosystems and dam removal plays a cornerstone role in restoring watersheds globally.

The Snake River runs from Wyoming to Idaho into Washington. It is the Columbia River’s largest tributary. The proposed $34 billion plan to breach the lower four dams connects 140-plus miles of river, currently a fragmented gauntlet for salmon. It is our best opportunity to restore active salmon runs to allow for economic impacts — two million steelhead and salmon once spawned here!

The Condit Dam was breached in 2011, restoring a tributary of the Columbia River watershed. Today, bald and golden eagles hunt at the mouth of the White Salmon river, it is home to kayakers, rafters, fishers, and Yakama Nation tribes.

Fish strengthen ecosystems, are a source of food to both mammals and humans and enable jobs. We’ve seen when you give nature a chance by removing dams, she’ll come roaring back! This is our opportunity to give future generations something that’s been missing for decades — a chance to see iconic salmon swimming in our rivers.

Serena Whitridge

Hood River

Bentz and Greene

Rep. Bentz, did you cut down the cherry tree?

Uh, no, the ax did. The ax jumped into my hand, and dragged my arm into swinging arcs over which I had no control. I was allowed to swing my arm holding an ax.

He didn’t say this, of course. But it’s the sort of logic one might expect from him, in his defense of a colleague like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Once again, Oregon’s newest member of the House of Representatives has shown his support for free speech disconnected from fact.

After first voting to throw out legally cast Pennsylvania votes, he joined 198 other Republican members of the House on Feb. 4 to defend committee assignments given by the GOP caucus to fellow freshman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Greene is the QAnut who believes that the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon never happened, that the Clintons conspired to murder John F. Kennedy Jr., that school shootings were hoaxes, that the Las Vegas shootings of 58 concertgoers were done to build support for gun legislation, that Jewish bankers employed a space laser to start California’s wildfires.

By all means, Rep. Bentz, lend your support to someone with such an informed view of reality to prop your GOP cred. It’s clear you believe she should retain her seat on the Education and Budget committees (pity our kids).

Since most of your colleagues believe she should not, perhaps you could ask her to help you explain why the Earth really is flat. We’re all ears.

Rhonda Starling


Act for climate

First let me congratulate Representative Cliff Bentz on his successful run for Congress in Oregon District 2. We all support and trust he will do his utmost to serve the citizens of Oregon and our wider national priorities to the best of his abilities. While I know a large list of extraordinary challenges faces the congressman and the newly elected officials of our nation’s capital.

I’m writing to publicly urge him to not lose sight of the humanity threatening calamity posed by the very real climate crisis. In this effort, time is not on our side. We need substantive action and we need it now. This crisis is not only a threat to our magnificent forests, oceans, wild areas and the communities that interface and depend on them. It’s now eroding the viability of our business communities and economic prosperity as hard working Oregonians.

If you’re still unconvinced, hopefully the updated position recently published by the business focused U.S. Chamber of Commerce will help make the case. Two excerpts read, “U.S. climate policy should recognize the urgent need for action…” and “The climate is changing and humans are contributing to these changes.” I plead with the congressman to support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, and take action. This act is market driven, job friendly, dramatically reduces emissions, and pays for itself. Thank you very much for your attention and service.

Bernard Seeger

Cascade Locks

Adopt HR 763

Dear Representative Cliff Bentz,

Congratulations on your election to the U.S. House of Representatives. I live in your district and am interested in your ideas on addressing climate change. Looking through your campaign website I saw that you had serious concerns about the cap and trade bills proposed by Oregon Democrats. Part of the statement referred to alternatives that would achieve carbon reduction without hurting the Oregon economy. I would be interested in learning more about those alternative approaches and how those concepts could be applied nationally.

I believe one of the concerns with the Oregon climate bill was the potential economic impact on businesses and consumers. While this is certainly something to consider, ignoring the impact of unchecked carbon emissions is a very serious concern. I believe The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763),, effectively addresses the economic effect to consumers through the house-hold dividend provided by the bill as well as the larger concern of environmental destruction through substantive emission reductions. I would urge you to become a sponsor of this important piece of legislation to demonstrate your serious commitment to current and future generations.

As an atmospheric scientist, I have serious concerns about climate change. While climate models are far from perfect, continuing to pump excessive greenhouse gases into the atmosphere seems like a very dangerous experiment to run.

Thank you for your time and consideration of HR 763.

Gorge McLean

Hood River

False ‘false flag’

Civility is the political equivalent of the rails that keep trains on track and able to deliver their cargo.

Our GOP leadership seems to have abandoned civility and embraced insanity, or at least an inexplicable tolerance for leaving the rails and spilling that cargo.

The False Flag resolution recently adopted by Oregon GOP leadership is the best evidence so far of the consequences of the abandonment of civility and civic responsibility.

Without mutual respect and the civility that comes with it, government suffers and so too do we who depend on it for the maintenance of peace and tranquility.

Many Republicans have been hoping for a return to leadership of the kind demonstrated by Dave Frohnmayer, Norma Paulus, Mark Hatfield, Vic Atiyeh, Tom McCall, Bev Clarno, and Tony Van Vliet.

As a person who attended many Dorchester Conferences with most of those people, and quit when the drift to the far right reached my limit, I regret having done nothing to slow or reverse that drift.

Oregon and the rest of the United States need two strong political parties, willing and able to work together for the common good. It is my hope that someday we will be able to enjoy the restoration of the party of Abraham Lincoln and the good people named above.

Keith Mobley


DOE protective step

In a huge victory for our communities and our climate, the Washington Department of Ecology has taken a protective step for our region by denying the shorelines permit for the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery in the world! Doomed from the start, this project would have produced massive amounts of harmful greenhouse gas emissions and would have been a threat to the health and safety of our communities for decades.

We know this decision was not taken lightly. Ecology executed a thorough and research-based decision. The evidence of potential harm is overwhelming and ultimately, Ecology saw this project for what it really is, a green-washed disaster waiting to happen.

I applaud Ecology for doing the right thing and for envisioning a safer, healthier future for Washington and our region. Our communities and future generations are depending on moving away from dirty energy. As the climate crisis worsens, we need bold leadership such as this if we have any chance of building resilience and moving forward toward cleaner sources of energy.

Washington deserves a better vision for our future than dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects. Finally, we can move past this ill-conceived idea toward cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. We are at a critical point and what we do now matters. Thank you Ecology for stepping up and protecting our chances for a safer, healthier future for generations to come!

Linda Leonard

Kalama, Wash.

Biden’s ‘Americans Last’

Biden has been in office for only a couple weeks but he’s already demonstrated through 43 executive orders that he’s more interested in being a dictator than he is governing through bi-partisan legislative action. Just October this past year, he was quoted as saying a “president should govern through legislative action not the dictatorial habit of executive orders.” He’s now signed more executive orders than the last three presidents combined.

With a stroke of a pen, and during a recession, he eliminated 11,000 jobs in the energy sector that had nothing to do with saving the planet and reducing green-house gases. In fact his executive order canceling the keystone pipeline will only increase our carbon foot-print and increase greenhouse gases. The oil is already flowing, now this oil will have to be shipped on diesel burning trucks and rail cars. Some of it right through our community.

It’s been said; If you want to take down a country, first take down their energy sector. Alarmingly, it appears Biden is determined to do this.

Him and his now vice president were quoted in front of millions of people during the debates that, “Joe will not end fracking.” Well guess what, they’ve already put a pause on fracking on federal lands. If allowed to stand, this could end up costing 1 million jobs and eliminate almost $9 billion in Federal tax revenues over the next year. And it’s not just the workers that are getting laid off, it’s all the businesses associated with them in communities across America. And no John Kerry, there’s not thousands of good paying jobs waiting for them out there in the green energy sector. This part of our economy will grow over time.

We absolutely must transition away from fossil fuels and on to renewable energy and a green economy, but it should be done seamlessly and it should be done over time, not by executive order and not by flipping the switch off and reducing our energy independence. We finally gained energy independence, let’s not give it back.

Mike Billets

Hood River

Get involved

Front page stories in Gorge newspapers on development proposals in Klickitat County have caught my attention.

Even though I live In Mosier, I have always looked to Klickitat County — its striking beauty, diversity of communities and natural environments — as an inspiration. In recent years, though, it seems the county has been increasingly bending to big business. One has to question if this approach is doing right by its residents.

From what I know about the “Under Canvas” project, it seems to be an investor-owned, sprawling resort-like development, disguised as a campground wanting to locate next to the White Salmon National Wild and Scenic River. Information posted on the county’s website suggests it would cause a significant increase in wildfire risk, huge increase in traffic on a substandard access road, and conflicts with existing farm and forestry land uses. Does any part of this development outweigh the downside?

Last summer my community was ravaged by a human-caused wildfire. Even though firefighting resources were close at hand, the wind-driven fire burned 1,000-plus acres and destroyed 36 structures. There is a lot of evidence that permitting residential development such as “Under Canvas” in the “wildland urban interface” is not smart, but when it comes to saying no to a developer — that is just so much hot air. Millions of acres of forest land burned, thousands of homes torched, and what have we really learned?

Big energy has clearly targeted Klickitat County. Why? Developers target conservative rural governments that reject land use regulation and proffer a candy store of development permits. They really get excited when county commissioners adopt “energy overlay zones” that give energy developers largely unrestricted access to huge swaths of land area regardless of existing use. Overlay zones are meant to fast-tract projects and to preempt citizen/property owner opposition.

There is a way to deal with county governments that become joined at the hip with big business: throw the rascals out in the next election! Work to rewrite land use ordinances and overlay zones to protect property owners from corporate predations. Get involved with the democratic process ...tag, you’re it!

Jill Barker



By the time this letter is published, it will have been over a month since right wing terrorists attempted to overthrow our government by force. I would love to write about something else for a change, like advocacy for the rights of the disabled, the social model of disability, and police reform, but because conservative lawmakers and voters alike seem to either want to forget all about the riots and slap the wrists of a few individuals, or have sincerely bought into the conspiracy theory that the riots at the capitol were a “false flag” operation, here we are.

In an Instagram Live broadcast, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez spoke at length about fearing for her life; about escaping from her office to Katie Porter’s office, desperately looking for a place to hide while hearing terrorists in the hallway screaming, “WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?” In an interview, Katie Porter talked about expressing to AOC that she, Ms. Porter, was a mom, was calm, and that everything would be alright. What Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in response is haunting: “I hope I live to be a mom.” In the aforementioned Instagram Live broadcast, AOC reflected on knowing that she shouldn’t have worn heels to work that day. What if she had to run for her life? Luckily, a staffer had a spare pair of sneakers for her.

Conservatives have been nothing short of ghoulish monsters in the aftermath of that broadcast, mocking AOC for fearing for her life when we know, for a fact, that a non-zero number of people stormed the capitol with the intent of kidnapping and/or killing elected officials. In case it needs to be said, AOC has been an explicit target of the right-wing since her election.

This could have gone very differently, and I think Republicans know that. If Donald Trump were any kind of an actual leader, if he had shown up on the day, there would be many dead lawmakers. I guess we have his cowardice to thank for our country still being the United States of America, and not ‘Trumpland’.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

Why the note?

Regarding the editor’s note to the letter to the editor Jan. 27. I am wondering why the editor would disparage and discount the Epoch Times? It is a paper that was around long before President Trump and will be around in the foreseeable future. it is a conservative paper which features articles on a very surprisingly wide range of issues. Maybe rather than assuming the online San Francisco is gospel, the editor should take the time to read and evaluate The Epoch Times on it’s own merit and make his decision from there rather than being a mere “mockingjay.” I have found that whichever side of the issue that I look at, there are examples and data that can support both sides of any issue. This also raises my curiosity in that most of the editor’s clarifications are on conservative letters and rarely on liberal letters? And, after all, this is an opinion page, I thought?

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Editor’s note: Editor’s notes are used to warn the reader of questionable facts or sources cited in a letter.

Not enough ink

There is not enough ink and paper in the world to list the cruel injustices inflicted on women by men in the last 6,000 years. It is a horrible dishonorable legacy for men. I am not bashing our sisters. I am using the female pastor as an example.

Of what? What we are experiencing in America … a ruthless debate over trust. Who are we to trust with the power? Empowerment! My suggestion is no one. Just because our sisters have entered the political arena does not mean it will be cleaned up or fixed. The female politician will show you they are just as dishonest as men. Watch.

What of church businesses? With the empowerment of women in churches as pastor, are we now going to witness honesty and truth there? The simple fact that the female pastor exists actually proves that the lust for empowerment can and does encourage people to brake the rules and laws to be empowered. Political leaders are supposed to be someone you trust who will abide by the rules, the laws, the Constitution.

“The Scriptures” are also a Constitution containing rules and laws that are to be obeyed. Disobeying the political Constitution, according to you deserves public execution. As the female pastor in church to worship or to be worshiped as thee revengeful empowered woman? Is church a platform she uses to “get back” at men or “get even” or scream, “I’ll show you.” New revenge teachings from Jesus? “The Books” explain how leaders are chosen. “[… appoint elders (Greek seniors) ... namely any man who is above reproach, the husband of one woman, having children who believe …]” A woman can not be the “husband” of one woman. “[… if any man aspires to be bishop (Greek superintendent) …he must be the husband of one woman …]” A husband. “[Let deacons (Greek attendant) be husbands of one woman …]” Trust those empowered? Who? No politician or any ignorant self glorifying pastor. Trust yourself. Empower yourself with worthy knowledge. Abandon this shameful hate … politics and church. Try some truth, read these chapters. Genesis 12 + 13, Jeremiah 33, Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 2.

Gary Fischer

The Dalles