Crossing the Next Meridian: Land. Water and the Future of the West

Written by Charles F. Wilkinson

The vaunted cheap electricity of the Pacific Northwest is not as cheap as once thought. Economist Phillip Meyer has estimated the economic cost of salmon and steelhead loss caused by operation of the Columbia River Power System. Meyer's calcuations found a staggering loss of $ 372 million annually, with cumulative costs of $ 6.5 billion between 1960 and 1982 alone. These are direct, tangible costs only. There was no attempt to measure such things as the lost satisfaction of sportfishers, the hundreds of millions of tons of nutrients lost to the animals and the land, or the sense of disorientation and disorder brought upon the Indian people of the Northwest.


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