Proposal to Retire Lower Snake River Dams
by Kat Brigham
Seeking a Columbia Basin solution will benefit all of us and our children.
U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has proposed a legislative concept for retiring the lower Snake River dams that would create innovative alternatives to replace the energy, agricultural and transportation benefits the dams provide. We commend Rep. Simpson for thinking outside of the box and for asking all of us, Indian tribes and non-Indians alike, to help find a solution that maintains the values that are important to the Northwest.
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation embraces the opportunity to work with the Northwest congressional delegation, Northwest tribes and state leadership on making Rep. Simpson's framework a stronger package that can be woven into a national infrastructure bill. Gov. Kate Brown has already demonstrated leadership on restoring our salmon, and we applaud her early support for this proposal. Pulling stakeholders together to solve "unsolvable" challenges is what Sen. Ron Wyden calls the "Oregon Way."
Regional scientists and tribal experts have projected Snake River salmon populations will go extinct within the next 20 years without significant change. We already know that it does not take a long time to nearly wipe out a salmon stock, but it can take decades to rebuild. The salmon do not have time to spare. Thinking out of the box, in collaboration with others, can generate innovative solutions and we want to be a part of this solution. Seeking a Columbia Basin solution will benefit all of us and our children.
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