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Another River--Another Dam Proposal

Yet another Irish river is under threat as a result of a planning application for permission to erect a dam across it. This time it is the Roughty River flowing into Kenmare Bay in Kerry.

It is a far cry from Kerry to Aspen in Colorado, but the proponents and the opponents of the Roughty dam proposal might care to look at a recent brochure published by the world renowned Aspen Institute available through the Internet. It is titled Dam Removal-A New Option for a New Century.

"Once perceived as almost entirely beneficial, dams are seen more realistically today as having both positive and negative effects. Some of the tens of thousands of dams in the United States are aging beyond their expected lifespan, and some are causing a variety of safety, environmental, and other problems. Dealing with these situations can be a costly and controversial task."

The above quotation from the brochure may be sufficient to draw the attention of anglers, developers, and planning authorities to the fact that there is inevitably an end expense involved when a dam is built, just as there is when a nuclear power plant is built and its lifespan is exhausted.

In an oral hearing conducted by An Bord Pleanala into the Kerry dam proposal, Mr. Paudie Casey of the Kilgarvan Roughty Anglers Club pointed out that Atlantic salmon and sea trout were already under threat from fish farms and lice on the river.

Hal Hydro Ltd is seeking permission to build a 1.5 megawatt hydro-electric scheme which would produce enough power to supply 5,000 homes.

Said Mr. Casey, "It is our opinion the gains from it of a little electricity will be far outweighed by the damage to the river and the environment."

No final decision has been given by the planning authority.


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