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EcoDependent | The Dam Truth

TV Mini Series | Documentary 

Dam Truth is a three part docuseries that outlines how Idaho can get it's salmon and steelhead populations back from the brink of extinction.

 

Part of a collection of nature based documentary mini-series that identify and confront environmental challenges.

Director: Steve Liebenthal

Writers: Steve Liebenthal

Producers: Tashia Yeates-Brumfield, Steve Liebenthal, Jacob Brumfield

Host: Steve Liebenthal

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CO\\OP Studios explores an outrageous wrong in the Pacific Northwest, as a key part of an ancient natural cycle endangers a crucial industry, sacred tribal traditions and entire ecosystems.

The Dam Truth

In this three part miniseries, Edward R Murrow Award winning journalist Steve Liebenthal reveals an ecological crisis in the Columbia Basin as multiple species of salmon teeter on the brink of extinction.

 

A conservative Republican congressman puts his political career on the line, siding with environmentalists and tribes who are demanding the removal of four massive hydroelectric dams on the Snake River.

 

Who stands in the way of the 34 billion dollar plan to keep Snake River salmon from disappearing forever?

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The Story

   Some consider it the most important political issue in the Pacific Northwest. For decades, the number of salmon and steelhead returning to their pristine Idaho spawning grounds has slowly declined. Environmentalists and Native Americans  have been beating the warning drum since the 1970s, pleading with the feds to step in and implement an obvious solution. But few in Washington D.C. have listened – until now.

 

   Idaho’s anadromous fish have found an unlikely champion in Republican Congressman Mike Simpson, who spent two years studying the situation. His conclusion? Four massive hydroelectric dams on the Lower Snake River must be removed if Snake River salmon are to avoid extinction. The governors of both Oregon and Washington agree.

   Won’t breaching the dams create an energy crisis? Without the energy the dams generate, won’t electricity prices skyrocket? Economist Anthony Jones says no. Jones was appointed by three successive governors to study the economics of salmon and energy in the Northwest.

    “Those dams lose on the order of fifty to one million dollars every year,”  says Jones. “If the Bonneville Power Administration was a private company, there would be bulldozers at Lower Granite Dam right now.”

   And while salmon populations continue to slowly dwindle away, Jones says Bonneville Power customers sometimes pay as much as three times the going market rate for electricity. Congressman Simpson says his  plan would save salmon by removing dams. The plan would also compensate the few who benefit from the antiquated system. His challenge: convince a majority in congress to approve 34 billion dollars in taxpayer money to save Idaho salmon.

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