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Local people oppose dam removal in the US

Environmental groups who are pushing for the removal of four dams on the Snake river in the US, are meeting with resistance from local communities situated along the river.

During September, several well-attended demonstrations and meetings were held in the three Snake river towns in the state of Washington.

The organisers of the meetings said the aim of the gatherings was to send a message to Congressional legislators in this election year, and state that the dams have to stay as their benefits far outweigh their disadvantages.

Snake river, a tributary of the Columbia river, forms the border between Idaho and Orgean.

Conservationists, led by the Idaho Rivers United, have claimed that hydro dams on the river are responsible for the depletion of once plentiful supplies of Salmon in the Columbia river.

Environmental groups have long argued that the breaching of the four lower Snake river dams is the best way to restore salmon runs in Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

In other parts of the US, Halifax County residents in Littleton, North Carolina are also fighting a plan to remove dams in their area.

During a public hearing, which formed part of North Carolina Power’s procedures to request relicensing of its hydroelectric dams in the locality, residents made it clear that even studying the idea of dam removal would be a waste of money. They argued human needs must be balanced against environmental needs.

Residents expressed their concerns about job levels, recreational opportunities and property values.

Department of Wildlife officials who attended the hearing had proposed that removing or modifying the dams could benefit the environment.