I am outraged. The facts are simple. The resident orcas who have spent so much of their lives and time here are starving to death because there is not enough salmon able to get to our waters, for them to eat, because of the four Lower Snake River dams. This past year there were three deaths in J, K, L Pods, death from starvation and their overall count is now down from 98 individuals in 1995, to only 73 individuals still living. 25 have died.
A major part of the resident orca starvation is because of the dams on the Snake River. So many islanders have worked hard, and in so many different ways, and have acknowledged the need to take those dams down, so that the salmon who are meant to swim through those barriers, can do so and can then provide food for the orcas here, who are literally starving to death. The orcas could then feed as they must, and could then continue to live — but OPALCO, by taking a position against taking the dams down, has made that possibility much more difficult.
The last issue of the Journal discusses OPALCO’s thinking about having decided to take this terrible decision against acting to save the remaining orcas.
OPALCO says a 2019 law will keep them from being able to meet the requirements of “working toward” a 100 percent greenhouse gas-free electricity generation some 25 years from now. And OPALCO has apparently determined that no other solution to the loss of the magnificent orcas can be found, or worked toward over the next 25 years. That cannot be the case. If we had to start from scratch and didn’t have these four dams in place, no doubt — no doubt at all we would absolutely be able to work toward satisfying the 2019 law regarding gas-free electricity generation by 2045. But, by 2045, our orcas will all be dead, most likely, have experienced long, slow, painful deaths from starvation.
I hope all islanders who are similarly concerned will write letters to the editor ASAP.