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Nez Perce Tribe Backs Idaho Rep.
Simpson's Snake River Dam Removal Plan

by Staff
KTVB, May 17, 2021

The tribe added that Washington's U.S. Senators and the Washington governor
haven't provided any solutions, other than standing against the plan.

Aerial view of Lower Granite Dam and its impounded reservoir in which many migrating juvenile salmon die. LAPWAI, Idaho -- The Nez Perce Tribe announced on Monday that the tribe backs Idaho Representative Mike Simpson's plan to breach the four dams along the Snake River.

The Republican's $33.5 billion plan would breach the four dams over the course of a decade, which would open up the waterway for migrating salmon.

The tribe "immediately expressed disappointment" after meeting with Washington Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both D-Washington, because they all opposed Simpson's plan "to honor treaty rights and save several species of salmon and steelhead on the verge of extinction."

"Gov. Inslee and Senators Murray and Cantwell have stated what they're against, providing no substance with respect to what they're for," Nez Perce Tribe Chairman Samuel Penney said in a statement.

They added that the Nez Perce backs Simpson's plan because the proposal follows the science, protects communities that depend on the river and is a regional solution. However, Penney acknowledges this may be the best and only chance to breach the Snake River dams.

"We have a singular legislative moment, one not likely to come along again in our lifetimes, to address that biological crisis and solve the decades-long salmon wars in the Basin," Penney said. "We have the right Administration, the right leadership in the Senate, and support from Rep. Mike Simpson. This is a moment for action, not for more process."

The vice-chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe, Shannon Wheeler, said while Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribe member and Native American activist who died in 2014, may be getting his own statue at the U.S. Capitol, addressing this issue would mean more to him.

"But I don't think he would have cared about a statue of himself, he would have cared about the fate of the salmon, and the tribal people whose lives and cultures depend on the salmon in every sense," Wheeler said. "This is a moment for decisive leadership that would have made Billy Frank Jr. proud."

Penney added that the tribe would like to work with the Washington Senators more, but time is short.

"But together we can take this unique opportunity to ensure a better, stronger Northwest for all. We stand ready to work with the congressional leaders of the Northwest on that effort," they said.

Nez Perce Tribe Backs Idaho Rep. Simpson's Snake River Dam Removal Plan
KTVB, May 17, 2021

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