Maybe Mike Simpson plans to term limit himself.  The United States Representative from Eastern and Southern Idaho still isn’t backing away from interest in removing dams from the lower Snake River.  The facilities are all in neighboring Oregon but impact would reverberate along the entire basin.  It could reduce the volume of water used for irrigation in Idaho.  It would also bring about higher prices for electricity.

Simpson explains he believes removal of dams would spur the return of native salmon.

Simpson explains he believes removal of dams would spur the return of native salmon.

Liberal environmentalists like his idea but it’s not going over well with his fellow Republicans and a large portion of his constituency.  It was the focus of a telephone town hall meeting the Representative hosted with the Idaho Republican Party.  One of my Boise counterparts fielded several calls from participants in the session and they aren’t pleased.

One of the most vocal critics of dam removal is the Speaker of the Idaho House.  His name is Scott Bedke and he may also be the state’s foremost policy expert on water resources.  Bedke is a rancher from Cassia County.  His name is often mentioned as a successor to Simpson in Washington, although.  The Speaker told me he can’t keep a ranch in order if he’s spending time in the nation’s capital.  Some of his colleagues believe if he changed his mind, he could handily win a Republican primary for the Congressional seat.

He spent some time with us on Magic Valley This Morning on St. Patrick’s Day.  His thoughts haven’t changed much on Simpson’s proposal since Bedke called it “asinine” last month.  You can listen below.

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