When we blogged about dam removal in the recent past (see http://gideonstrumpet.info/?p=271 ), we had no idea how big a whale we had stuck our little harpoon into. The New York Times reports that in past ten years some 430 dams have been removed, and the process is going on. See Matthew Preusch, Dams Go Down, Uncorking Rivers For Kayakers, N.Y. Times, Aug. 9, 2009, at p. 3 (Travel Section).
In the past, dams were built “to generate electricity, provide irrigation water and protect against floods.” Now many of those dams are sought to be removed, leaving one to wonder: what about all that electricity and the other benefits? Won’t all that clean power have to be replaced with electricity produced by fossil-burning generating plants? And won’t that add to carbon dioxide emissions that according to prevailing conventional wisdom are a big-time environmental no-no? Go figure.
While up until now the justification for dam removal has been the wellbeing of fish, notably salmon, it appears that a new one has emerged. That Times article, starting with its headline, makes clear that the pleasure of canoeists and kayakers figures prominently in the decisions to tear down those dams. We don’t begrudge those folks their pleasures, but we can’t help wondering how many of them are ardent environmetalists who are out there inveighing against carbon dioxide emissions. Do you suppose?