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Commentaries and editorials

Dam Task Force Proposal
Elicits GOP Response

by Garth Meyer
Whitman County Gazette, December 23, 2018

Tidewater Barge carries grain from the Washington Palouse for export overseas. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put forth his $54.3 billion budget proposal Dec. 13, including $750,000 for a state task force to study possible breaching of the lower Snake River dams -- and other options in the name of efforts to protect salmon and orcas.

The task force would consider costs and benefits of various options, including how to replace power generated from the dams in the event of taking them out. How to replace barge cargo shipments from Lewiston to the Pacific Ocean also would be considered.

Any decision to take out a federal dam would be made by congress.

Republican eastern Washington U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse released a statement two hours after Inslee made his proposal public.

"The people of eastern Washington whose livelihoods depend on these dams should not be collateral damage for anyone's presidential ambition," according to the Republican duo's statement. "The governor does not have the authority to breach our federal dams on the lower Snake River, and allocating state taxpayers' funds to consider breaching them would be wasteful. Congress has the sole authority to authorize breaching our federal dams, and as representatives of eastern Washington communities that depend on the many benefits they provide, breaching them is out of the question. We commit to do everything in our power to save our dams."

(bluefish points to Orca Task Force Q&A: What role can Washington Governor Jay Inslee have in this authority?)

The Washington state Legislature will take up Inslee's budget proposal in the 2019 session beginning Jan. 14. The state House and Senate will also submit their own budget plans.

Related Pages:
Tri-Cities Groups Pushing Support for Snake River Dams by Associated Press, Tri-City Herald, 1/15/19
If Snake River Dams are Breached, What Would Happen? We Must Get Our Message Out by Editorial Board, Tri-City Herald, 12/14/18

Garth Meyer
Dam Task Force Proposal Elicits GOP Response
Whitman County Gazette, December 23, 2018

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