The consulting firm looking at how removing the Snake River dams could impact the Central and Eastern Washington economies have announced workshops to discuss the proposal. Hearings were initially scheduled for Vancouver and Clarkston for early next year; the exact dates were not given. However, the lack of a Central Washington location did not sit well with local and federal leaders.
State Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, went to Twitter, asking why a workshop was not taking place in the Tri-Cities.
In addition, 4th District Representative Dan Newhouse sent out a statement asking that a workshop be held in the Tri-Cities.
“This entire process has been a sham. The federal government has jurisdiction over these facilities, so, as I’ve said all along, spending $750,000 on a state-funded dam breaching study is a complete waste of Washingtonians’ taxpayer dollars,” Newhouse said Tuesday. “Now the state is turning its back on the people of Tri-Cities by avoiding their opinions and concerns. I demand that Governor Inslee’s Snake River Dam Study group hold an additional public hearing in Tri-Cities so our region’s voices can be heard. It is the least the state can do to uphold any semblance of a legitimate process. One has to ask: What are they afraid of?”
Late Tuesday, consultants working on the project got permission from the governor’s office to add a third public hearing. According to the Tri-City Herald, that hearing in the Tri-Cities will take place in January.
Governor Jay Inslee says removing the dams will help increase chinook salmon population that make up the majority of the diet of the declining Southern Resident orca population off the Pacific Coast. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse have already come out against the study.
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