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Fish Return to Kennebec River After Controversial Dam RemovalAired July 19, 2000 - 2:39 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House is about to weigh in on a politically charged debate now raging in the Northwest. It's over one of the region's most cherished symbols: salmon. The Clinton Administration plans to announce its opposition to the removal of four dams along Washington's Snake River. The move would help restore fish stocks, but would also hurt those who live and farm along the river.
Gina London has the story of a similar situation along another river one year later.
GINA LONDON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The boaters and anglers have returned to enjoy the renaissance of a river. One year ago this month, the Edwards Dam across the Kennebec in Augusta, Maine was demolished, the first hydroelectric dam in the U.S. ordered breached by the government against its owner's wishes.
The removal allowed for the return of at least 10 species of migratory fish. The dam removal affects 18 miles of the Kennebec stretching from Maine's capital city in the south to Waterville in the north.
Scott Davis is a river guide who's fished the Kennebec for some 20 years.
SCOTT DAVIS: I spend a lot of time out here. You can ask my wife that. Well, I see a whole new reborn river. Stripers weren't here, your herring, your sturgeon your salmon, your fish life, the wildlife. There's just so much more right now than there ever used to be with the dam removed.
There we go. Nice fish. Pretty, aren't they?
LONDON (on camera): Since the removal of the Edwards Dam here a year ago, at least 25 other small dams around the country have also been taken out, and more than a dozen are slated for removal this summer and fall.
(voice-over): Advocates say hydropowered dams are responsible for most of the renewable energy in the U.S. Removing too many could create a bigger environmental problem.
MIKE SWIGER, HYDROPOWER ATTORNEY: For every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity that are lost from hydropower, we have to replace that with fossil fuels.
LONDON: The trick, both sides agree, is to examine each dam's usefulness on a case-by-case basis so the current trickle of removals does not turn into a haphazard torrent.
Gina London, CNN, Augusta, Maine.
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