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Risch Blocks Snake River Dam Breaching
Language from Water Resources Act

by Staff
Big Country News, December 13, 2022

Water moves through a spillway of the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River near Almota, Washinton. The benefits provided by four giant hydroelectric dams on the Snake River must be replaced before the dams can be breached to save endangered salmon runs, according to a final report issued last August by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. WASHINGTON, D.C. - Idaho U.S. Senator Jim Risch's office says that due to strong and direct opposition by Risch, attempts to breach the lower Snake River dams were removed from the Water Resources Development Act, which will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

"The Water Resources Development Act should strengthen our water infrastructure, not dismantle it. Removal of the Snake River dams would inflict an unthinkable cost on the Northwest, all while worsening sky-high energy prices and inflation," said Risch. "I fought to remove language aimed at dam breaching from WRDA and remain flatly opposed to removal of the lower Snake River dams."

The four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River provide multiple benefits to Idaho and the region, including flood risk management, economic stimulus, crop irrigation, and clean hydropower.

The first draft of the Senate bill released in May 2022 contained language inserted by Senate Democrats to study breaching the four lower Snake River dams. Senator Risch blocked the bill from proceeding in the Senate until he secured language protecting the dams. As the Senate and House conferenced their respective related bills, he worked with negotiators to remove all Snake River dam language.

Following a four-year comprehensive scientific study of the Columbia River System Operations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration released a record of decision in September 2020 affirming the four dams' critical importance to the region.

Risch Blocks Snake River Dam Breaching Language from Water Resources Act
Big Country News, December 13, 2022

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