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Cathy McMorris Rodgers Explains Opposition
to Removing Snake River Dams

by Nicole Hernandez
KREM2, January 30, 2024

Local tribes and conservationists want the dams removed because it would
help salmon survive, but Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers says the dams should stay.

WASHINGTON -- A group of lawmakers met Tuesday morning to talk about taking down the Snake River dams.

The dams have been a topic of debate between residents and lawmakers nationwide and in the Pacific Northwest. The dams create hydro-power for the state and employ hundreds of Washingtonians; however, conservationists say they also block the Snake River, which is a natural highway for salmon.

Last November, documents from the Biden administration regarding the controversial dams were leaked. The administration said the federal government would be willing to help replace the power and transportation the dams create if the state decides to get rid of them. Local tribes and conservationists want the state to remove the dams because it would help salmon survive.

On Tuesday, however, Washington U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the dams should stay.

"It serves as a super-marine highway for farmers to ship their products all across America, while keeping thousands of trucks off the road every year," she said during Tuesday's hearing. "The Lower Snake River dams are not the problem, and breaching them is not the solution."

McMorris Rodgers also said the dams are critical for the state's power grid.

In 2021, Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson proposed removing the earthen berms on either side of the four Lower Snake River dams to let the river flow freely. He also proposed spending $33 billion to replace the benefits of the dams for agriculture, energy and transportation.

Last year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray released a report saying carbon-free electricity produced by the dams must be replaced before they are breached. A report from the Associated Press said getting rid of the dams would "dramatically change the way farmers in Idaho and Washington and Oregon transport their crops, forcing them to rely on truck and rail transportation instead."

The leaked agreement outlined some of the ways the government plans to replace energy and transportation created by the dams, but McMorris Rodgers said she doesn't believe the propose solutions are viable.

"They say new technology will be developed, they're going to invest in some tribal clean energy projects, but those would still have to be developed," she said.

After Tuesday's hearing, McMorris Rodgers said she hopes the White House will reconsider what's in her report.

Nicole Hernandez
Cathy McMorris Rodgers Explains Opposition to Removing Snake River Dams
KREM2, January 30, 2024

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