Barstow: Choice shows Obama 'is no friend' to ag
By MATTHEW WEAVER
The Washington Association of Wheat Growers has voiced its opposition to President Barack Obama's candidate for the next assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Association President Ben Barstow expressed concern over Rebecca Wodder's position as president of the environmental organization American Rivers, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Barstow pointed to the organization's position supporting the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.
WAWG has a long-standing policy supporting the dams and has always opposed their removal for "economic, transportation and practicality reasons," Barstow told the Capital Press.
"To me, it clearly states this administration is no friend of American agriculture and practical transportation solutions," he said.
Barstow cited the American Rivers position on the website that the dams can be replaced with wind power.
"Anybody involved in the power industry knows that you absolutely must have dams because some evenings when everybody wants to cook dinner, there's no wind blowing," he said. "You've got to have those dams to provide power in those windless hours of the day."
Barstow also objected to American Rivers' claims that the four dams are "outdated."
"The newest dams in the country, they're calling outdated," he said. "I just find that a little hard to swallow. The president of an organization that makes those kind of statements that, in my opinion, are so blatantly out of touch with reality does not belong as (an assistant) secretary of the Interior."
Barstow said it would take an act of Congress to appropriate funds to remove the dams.
Now that the association has voiced its opposition to Wodder, it's up to elected officials to decide whether to confirm her.
If confirmed, "there's always another election," he said.
See American Rivers' position on the lower Snake River dams: www.americanrivers.org/our-work/restoring-rivers/dams/projects/lower-snake-river-id-or-wa.html
Washington Association of Wheat Growers: www.wawg.org