Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) today released the following statement in response to the filing by the state of Oregon and other environmental groups that calls for injunctive relief, including 24-hour maximum spillovers at all eight Columbia and Snake River dams:
“It was not long ago that parts of Oregon suffered regular devastation from flooding – flooding that has since been significantly mitigated by dams. This filing is further proof that some groups will stop at nothing to breach all dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers, regardless of the tremendous hydropower, flood control, and navigation benefits they provide. We also have to question why Oregon Governor Kate Brown seems eager to abandon the four-state agreement Oregon supported just last year.
“At the time of the agreement, the four states had determined a need to work together towards our common goal of rebuilding Columbia River salmon and steelhead stocks ‘in a collaborative, public process to be defined with involvement from the region’s tribes, federal agencies, and stakeholders.’ Tossing what was billed as a collaborative process aside to pursue yet another obstructive lawsuit means abandoning the hard work necessary to recover salmon.
“It’s clear by these actions that Oregon’s leadership is refusing to consider the negative ramifications this filing will have on energy reliability and affordability – as well as safety – for the people in its own state and in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.”
NOTE: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration’s final Record of Decision for the Columbia River System Operation Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the Lower Snake River Dams should not be breached. That EIS is being challenged in court. This latest filing for an injunctive relief is an attempt to effectively breach the dams while the EIS is litigated.
In October 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and Idaho Governor Brad Little committed to working together to rebuild the Columbia River salmon and steelhead stocks and to advance the goals of the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force ‘in a collaborative, public process to be defined with involvement from the region’s tribes, federal agencies, and stakeholders.’