An editorial in yesterday’s New York Times urged the federal government to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead species by breaching four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state. Most scientists believe that breaching would be the most effective step to help the salmon, the newspaper argues, and the economic fallout would be far less dramatic than breaching opponents like Washington Sen. Slade Gorton (R) contend. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended by one month the public comment period for its draft study of dam breaching and other potential strategies to help fish. At 15 hearings the feds held around the West earlier this year to get public input on the issue, dam opponents outnumbered dam defenders by an average of 3-to-1, enviros say.

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