Free Celilo Falls! Comment on the Columbia River Treaty Review
October 21, 2013
From The Friends of Celilo Falls
To the US Entity, Columbia River Treaty Review
Mr. Stephen R. Oliver, U.S Entity Coordinator, Bonneville Power Administration
Mr. David Ponganis, U.S Entity Coordinator, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Submitted online at: http://www.bpa.gov/comment
Re: Columbia River Treaty – Draft Regional Recommendation
Dear Mr. Oliver and Mr. Ponganis:
The Board of Directors of The Friends of Celilo Falls appreciates this opportunity to submit comments to the US Entity regarding the working draft of a regional recommendation concerning the future of the Columbia River Treaty.
The Friends of Celilo Falls is a new nonprofit dedicated to the restoration and protection of Celilo Falls and its ancient fishery under the permanent stewardship of the Columbia River Treaty tribes. The Friends of Celilo Falls does not represent or speak for any entity other than its own membership. We do not speak for or represent the Columbia River Treaty tribes or the people of Celilo Village.
We are aware that Celilo Falls is not submerged for hydropower, flood control or irrigation purposes, but only to facilitate barging through the Columbia Gorge. We believe that Celilo Falls is an essential component of the Columbia River ecosystem and we ask that you consider a restored Celilo Falls in your modeling.
We are also aware that maintaining barge shipping through the Columbia Gorge requires billions of dollars in public subsidies, and that the system as a whole is highly inefficient, with half the total barges and 80% of those moving upriver empty. The future high and low flows anticipated in your modeling would appear to make the inefficiencies of this system even more problematic and costly to the public than at the present.
We note that shippers use the locks free of charge (at public expense) while the public must pay day use fees at any of the several points of access in the Gorge.
We take issue with the contention that barging is “environmentally benign” as the vast reaches of slack water that barges require and which reduces fish survivability costs the public billions of dollars to mitigate. These costs should be factored into any accounting of the energy “efficiency” of barging vs other modes of transportation.
We oppose the prioritization of the Columbia River Gorge as an internationalized industrial corridor, and support the creation of a new Celilo – Wishram – Maryhill UNESCO World Heritage Site. We believe that tourism and other benefits of such an endeavor would create thousands of construction and permanent jobs benefitting most of all those who are and will be living and raising their families in the Columbia River Gorge itself.
We ask you to consider Oregon Governor Tom McCall’s statement on the 1967 Beach Bill, which protects Oregon’s public beaches forever, quoting Oregon Governor Oswald West: “…in the administration of this God-given trust, a broad protective policy should be declared and maintained. No local selfish interest should be permitted, through politics or otherwise, to destroy or even impair this great birthright of our people.”
Free Celilo Falls!
The Board of Directors of The Friends of Celilo Falls
Sean Aaron Cruz, Executive Director
Kevin Duell, Board President
Shirley Harada, Board Treasurer
Dara Snyder, Board Secretary
Cynthia Vogel, Board Member
Hannah Kullberg, Board Member
Ruby Shirazi, Board Member
Treothe Bullock, Board Member
The Friends of Celilo Falls does not represent or speak for any entity other than its own membership. We do not speak for or represent the Columbia River Treaty tribes or the people of Celilo Village.
The Friends of Celilo Falls
10809 NE Fremont St. Portland, Oregon 97220