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Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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Choosing electricity over salmon would be a violation of the Nez Perce treaty said Chairman Samuel Penney, objecting to wrangling over water releases on Snake River projects. "The question is whether the costs of losing entire runs of salmon, for which millions of dollars have been spent for recovery, are outweighed by the risk of BPA (Bonneville Power Authority) being unable to meet power demands for one day in February or March. We do not think it is." Penney said the tribe supports Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposal to allow Bonneville to defer its debt payment to the federal treasury this year and use the money to buy power instead. However, Ed Mosey, spokesman for the federal power broker, said the $700 to $800 million would not go far given the current prices for wholesale electricity. It just wouldn't buy that much power. The math is a little weak." Biologists say empirical data of 30 years since the Snake River projects went online is all the evidence salmon managers need to realize flows are especially critical during spring salmon migration. Each time there has been a low snowpack, it results in low returns of adults two years later.

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