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Dam Letters Head to Governor

by Victoria Fowler
Whitman County Gazette, February 13, 2020

Tidewater Barge carries grain from the Washington Palouse for export overseas. On Thursday, Brenda Stav, port finance director, updated the port commissioners on a collaborative project the port has been working on for the past few months in relation to ports on the Lower Snake River to join in signing resolutions on the dams.

Stav said the intention for these resolutions were to have them delivered at the same time the Washington Public Ports Association submits a letter to the governor regarding the dams.

On Aug. 15, the Port of Whitman adopted resolution 19-09 in support of the Lower Snake River Dams.

"They (WPPA) kind of jumped the gun on us and submitted that letter, I believe last week," Stav said. "Next week, Joe (Poire, Port executive director) will follow up with some ports who have yet to respond, then we will put it all together in a really nice packet and submit it to the governor the week of March 2."

The following ports have adopted resolutions in support of the Lower Snake River Dams and provided a copy of the resolution to submit to the governor: Port of Chinook, Clarkston, Columbia, Grandview, Ilwaco, Othello, Skamania County and Woodland.

Along with this project, Stav reported that the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association has officially launched the Columbia River System 2020 campaign.

The campaign's purpose is to inform others through targeted strategic messaging, proactive community and additional government relations on the benefits of the dams as well as the balance of ecology and economy required to maintain healthy growth and livability in the Pacific Northwest.

Stav said that the port participated in the launch call on Monday, Feb. 3, where goals of different avenues of outreach were presented.

"There are three founding members at this point in time of which Port of Whitman is one of those founding members," Stav said. "They continue to do fundraising so this entire campaign can be funded and executed throughout the year."

Within the campaign, there are three strategy components. These components include build strategy and messages, develop communication tools and reach audiences.

In the develop communication tools section, it shows how there is a plan to create templates for presentations and letters.

This is in preparation for the Environmental Impact Study that will be released at the end of the month by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bonneville Power Administration and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the Columbia River System and the effects of dam removal.

It was reported last week, that once the EIS is presented there will be a 45-day open comment period.

Last week, Port Commissioner Tom Kammerzell said that if 4,000 of the exact same letter was sent in then that would just count as one concept. Whereas, if four different letters were sent in then that would count as four separate votes.

"They (PNWA) are working on to make sure we have things you can use to put things together on letters, where they aren't all the same and appropriate for the person who is sending it," Stav said.

The Columbia Snake River System marketing campaign is planned to run all the way through November 2020.

"We will continue to be involved as needed," Stav said.

Victoria Fowler
Dam Letters Head to Governor
Whitman County Gazette, February 13, 2020

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