On Friday, the federal government released it’s Final Environmental Impact Statement regarding the four lower Snake River dams. In the report, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and BPA called for spilling more water over the dams at strategic times to help fish migrate faster. The three agencies said they looked at balancing the needs of the environment as well as the local economy when coming up with a final decision.
Environmental groups blasted the decision, saying the plan will not save salmon and will harm Puget Sound orcas that feed on the fish.
Representatives Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler praised the EIS in a joint release Friday.
“Our constituents understand the important role the Federal Columbia River Power System plays for our way-of-life – in fact, we have always said that our rivers and the benefits they provide are the lifeblood of our region,” the representatives noted. “For the past several years, scientists and engineers have studied the impacts of the federally owned and operated dams on our economy, environment, and protected species and came to the conclusion many of us recognize: The benefits of the dams along the mighty Columbia and Snake Rivers are far too precious for our region to go without. While we continue to review this final study, we are proud to see a comprehensive, science-based process come to fruition and will continue to work in Congress to ensure we keep improving upon both the efficiency of our infrastructure as well as critical fish passage and salmon survival efforts.”
The four hydroelectric dams were built from the 1960s to the 1970s between Pasco and Pomeroy, allowing barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, 400 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The final report was similar to a draft plan issued in February, which concluded that removing the four dams would destabilize the power grid, increase overall greenhouse emissions and more than double the risk of regional power outages.
Click Here to read the final EIS.
A record of decision on the plan announced Friday will be released in September.
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