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White House Orders Studies of Snake River
Dam Removal to Restore Salmon Populations

by Zack Budryk
The Hill, December 14, 2023

The White House has not announced the removal of the dams yet.

Graphic: Energy Strategies analysis used 77 years of historic water flows, and 80 years of Temperature/Load data to run 6160 simulations in NW Power & Conservation Council's GENESYS to determine the Northwest's resource adequacy. The White House on Thursday announced a 10-year plan to restore salmon populations in the Columbia River basin, including studies into the possibility of removing the Snake River basin's four dams.

The Biden administration announced it has reached an agreement with state and tribal leaders in the Pacific Northwest, which will contribute more than $1 billion to restoration along with previously allocated funding.

The White House earlier in September directed agencies to take steps to restore salmon populations in the basin. This includes $300 million over 10 years, with a third of the money going to the Washington and Oregon officials and the four Lower River Treaty Tribes to restore salmon habitats. The remaining $200 million will be used to upgrade and modernize hatcheries.

The Biden administration will also support the development of 1 to 3 gigawatts of tribal clean energy infrastructure through the Energy Department to replace the power generated by dams in the lower Snake River basin, should the government remove them. The White House has not announced the removal of the dams yet, but activists said in September that they hope restoration efforts will eventually lead to removal.

In the Thursday announcement, the administration said it will "undertake or help fund studies of how the transportation, irrigation, and recreation services provided by the four Lower Snake River dams could be replaced."

(bluefish notes: an $80 million NEPA study was completed two years ago that looked at these "services". The draft Appendix L on "navigation" was flawed, as public comment revealed. The final version of that Appendix made that admission, but corrections did not follow.)
"The science is clear, for salmon populations to thrive, the Snake River dams must come down. We thank President Biden for presenting a plan that moves dam breaching forward by replacing their services with clean energy Pacific Northwest communities can rely on, and restores this vital way of life for local Tribes," Sierra Club President Ben Jealous said in a statement Thursday.

"We urge the administration to continue to work with elected officials, community stakeholders, and Tribes to finish the job and put this plan into action with the urgency that is needed."

Zack Budryk
White House Orders Studies of Snake River Dam Removal to Restore Salmon Populations
The Hill, December 14, 2023

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