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Commentaries and editorials

Herrera Beutler Requests
Pause in Dam Spills

by Katy Sword
The Columbian, March 16, 2018

She says Columbia, Snake releases could raise energy bills

In this 2013 aerial file photo, the Ice Harbor Dam
on the Snake Ri ver is seen near Pasco, Washington (Bob Brawdy / Associated Press). U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, joined fellow Washington representatives Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, in asking U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to help pause a mandated spill over dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers.

The spill is scheduled for April 3 at eight of the lower dams on the Snake River and lower Columbia River dams.

The three representatives expressed concerns that the spill could lead to higher energy bills.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon ordered the spill in March 2017 in response to a motion filed by conservation groups and the Nez Perce Tribe. The spill is intended to help threatened salmon and steelhead pass over the dam instead of passing through turbines that often kill juvenile fish.

The order was delayed until 2018 however to allow for testing to determine what effects an additional spill would produce. Simon approved the plan in January.

Herrera Beutler, Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers included language in the 2018 appropriations bill to pause the spill until an ongoing case before the 9th Circuit Court concluded.

"While we understand this pending legal process is still taking place, we believe it is paramount as a co-equal branch of government for Congress to ensure actions conducted within the FCRPS (Federal Columbia River Power System) are solely based upon the best-available science," the letter reads.

The representatives continued to say they are concerned about unintended consequences as a result of the spill.

"The three FCRPS Action Agencies -- the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) -- have estimated that should the additional forced spill begin on April 3rd, Pacific Northwest ratepayers could face a $40 million price tag in increased rates this year alone," the letter reads.

"This is simply not worth the risk," the letter states. "We must come to the aid of our constituents to stop the $40 million bill that could land on their backs this year alone."

Related Pages:
Herrera Beutler Doesn't Represent by Katy Sword, The Columbian, 3/10/18
Inslee Beats Drum for Herrera Beutler Bill by James Hutchison, The Columbian, 1/24/18

Katy Sword
Herrera Beutler Requests Pause in Dam Spills
The Columbian, March 16, 2018

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