Apr 02, 2018 / Energy/Environment

McMorris Rodgers’s Bill to Protect Dams to be Voted on in Coming Weeks

SPOKANE, WA (April 2, 2018) – Today, following the 9th Circuit Court ruling to continue with plan to increase spill over the Columbia and Snake River Dams, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) announced that her bipartisan bill to protect the dams would be coming up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

“Hydropower helped build the Northwest, and still today it offers us clean, renewable, reliable, and affordable energy to help power our homes, businesses, and communities. I’m proud to announce that my bipartisan legislation to protect our dams will come before the House of Representatives in the coming weeks to be voted on and sent to the Senate. My goal is to ensure that dams and fish can co-exist, and this Biological Opinion provides a collaborative approach so we can continue to improve technology and fish recovery efforts, while supporting the clean energy produced on our dams. I’m proud to lead this effort along with the support of organizations and people all across Eastern Washington.”

SUPPORT FOR MCMORRIS RODGERS’S Bill CONTINUES:

“I am writing on behalf of the United Power Trades Organization (UPTO) to express our
support for H.R. 3144 which requires federal agencies to manage the Federal Columbia
River Power System (FCRPS) in accordance with the 2014 Supplemental Biological Opinion (Bi-Op)…Contrary to misinformation that has been widely reported, spilling water over the dams has not been the primary reason for increases in fish survival through the Columbia-Snake River system. There have been many reasons that fish survival has improved including habitat restoration, better oceanic conditions and summer flow augmentation. But a major reason for improved fish survival is the transportation program.” — United Power Trades Organization (UPTO). Read their full letter of support here.

“Again, we implore you to support H.R. 3144 to help protect ESA-listed salmon by keeping in place measures we know are working, not experiments, while allowing a thoughtful, deliberative NEPA process to generate credible information about a full range of potential dam operations and salmon-management strategies for the future. H.R. 3144, contrary to critics’ statements, would not halt or undermine additional “learning” about the system’s impacts on salmon or prevent a constructive conversation among agencies, tribes and other stakeholders. The bill will simply allow for a much-needed “time out” from over 20 years of litigation and allow the federal agencies to focus their limited resources on conducting the best NEPA process possible to comply with the court’s order.” — Northwest River Partners. Read their full letter of support here.

“Since 1978, BPA has committed nearly $15.9 billion to support Northwest fish and wildlife recovery. BPA’s fish and wildlife mitigation program is the largest in the nation, and quite possibly the world…Specifically, BPA has made long-term investments in large-scale structural and operational changes to further improve existing fish passage routes as well as to provide new, safe passage structures to these dams… Therefore, by upholding the 2014 Supplemental Biological Opinion, H.R. 3144 appropriately balances environment and economic demands while also protecting existing hydropower resources in the Pacific Northwest.” — National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association. Read their full letter of support here.

“We would like to express our support for H.R. 3144, which would keep the current river plan in place while the federal agencies move through the NEPA process and prepare a new plan for the court by 2021…As you are well aware, the Port of Whitman County Commission has fought long and hard for many years to preserve the Columbia-Snake River System. Many of our local constituents rely on the river to transport their wheat and other farm commodities to market. Thank you for throwing a spotlight on all the good work that has occurred regionally and in Washington, DC, and for your unfailing support for the ongoing efforts to preserve a multi-use river system for the benefit of Washington State and our nation.” — Port of Whitman County Commission. Read their full letter of support here.

“Thank you very much for your leadership on HR 3144, to provide for operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System pursuant to a certain operation plan for a specified period, and for other purposes, October 12, 2017. We so much appreciate your understanding that the 365-mile Columbia Snake River navigation channel is the water highway to our community. Without this transportation corridor, transporting wheat grown here to foreign markets would be significantly costlier—both in dollars and carbon emissions. Causing our roadways to be less safe and it would prevent cruise boats from making their contributions to communities up and down the river. Here at the Port of Clarkston, we calculate the positive economic benefit for just the Lewis-Clark Valley to be $3,000,000 annually. On the entire system, the economic benefit likely exceeds $15,000,000 annually.” — Port of Clarkston. Read their full letter of support here.

NOTE: Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling that mandated increased spill along the Columbia and Snake River System, and action expected to cost Washington state ratepayers $40 million dollars in increased electricity rates.

Find more information about the Congresswoman’s bipartisan legislation here.

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