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Governor Inslee and Senator Murray Release Final Report on Snake River Dams

Posted on Aug 26, 2022 in Conservation News, WA Wild Blog
The Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in Southeast Washington

The Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in Southeast Washington. Photo by David Dungan

On August 25, Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray released their final report and recommendations outlining how to replace the benefits of the Lower Four Snake River dams. 

The Final Report was released after a one month comment period soliciting public input. At over 100 pages, the comprehensive report describes the breadth of services and benefits currently provided by the dams, solutions to replace or improve on these benefits, and expected results.

While the report itself does not constitute a recommendation on whether the Lower Snake River Dams should be breached or retained, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray prepared a separate document with recommendations based on the report’s findings, which make it clear that “status quo is not an option; extinction of salmon is categorically unacceptable.”

Their recommendations call for swift action to begin replacing and mitigating the benefits provided by the aging dams as a prerequisite to breaching. 

“To establish breach of the Lower Snake River Dams as a realistic and actionable option, we must focus on short- and medium-term actions to invest in the region’s transportation network and electrical grid. Importantly, we must also aggressively pursue projects and initiatives to restore habitat and support salmon recovery throughout the Columbia River Basin and the Puget Sound.”

Washington Wild is grateful to Governor Inslee and Senator Murray for committing to this process and for their leadership. In a joint statement, they recognize the enormous task ahead:

“We do not take lightly the significance of the work ahead. But it is necessary because the Lower Snake River Dams, Eastern Washington, and our entire region are experiencing enormous transition that is impacting our energy system, our climate, and our economy. And it is the responsibility of policymakers to plan for changing circumstances and to consider the needs of our state 25, 50, and 100 years into the future. .”

With the release of their Final Report and Recommendations, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray have committed to a series of next steps, which include authorizing projects that substantially expand salmon habitat, working with Tribes, to-managers, and impacted stakeholders on salmon funding, pursue alternative green energy generation, and complete further detailed transportation analysis. 

More information about this project can be viewed on the Lower Snake River Dams Options website.