Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter aims to build billions of dollars in new or expanded Idaho dams, to capture more water in his state's drought-stricken southern desert for crops, cities and flushing endangered salmon to the sea.
He's asking lawmakers to give him $15 million down payment for, among other things, studying whether a new era of dam building make sense, given somebody will have to pay for it.
One project he's pushing, a new Weiser River dam, could be used for everything from flood control to electricity.
But activist groups are skeptical, saying the project would have been built during Idaho's dam-building heyday — had it made financial sense.
Idaho Power, the state's biggest utility, said Tuesday it's monitoring whether new dams fit its hydroelectric system on the Snake River.