McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse, and Herrera Beutler Implore Murray, Cantwell to Assist Effort to Pause Impending Spill on Columbia and Snake River Dams

Mar 19, 2018
Clean Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2018) –Today, U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) sent a letter to U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell urgently requesting assistance in the appropriations process to place a pause on the court-mandated spill order scheduled to begin April 3, 2018, at the eight lower Snake River and lower Columbia River dams.

The representatives wrote in the letter: “We implore you as Washington’s U.S. Senators to assist our efforts to place a pause on the impending spill order mandated to begin April 3,2018, at the eight lower Snake River and lower Columbia River dams.  We respectfully ask for your support of our language in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations legislation to safeguard the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) while the ongoing litigation in the 9th Circuit Court runs its course.  While we understand this pending legal process is still taking place, we believe it is paramount as a co-equal branch of government for Congress to ensure actions conducted within the FCRPS are solely based upon the best-available science.”

The representatives continued: “We are very concerned by the unintended consequences this forced spill order could have on our shared constituents in Central and Eastern Washington, as well as the rest of the Pacific Northwest.  The three FCRPS Action Agencies—the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)—have estimated that should the additional forced spill begin on April 3rd, Pacific Northwest ratepayers could face a $40 million price tag in increased rates this year alone.

“As you well know, over 70% of Washington’s electricity comes from clean, renewable hydropower—the impact on our power system will not only affect Central and Eastern Washington, but rather all of Pacific Northwest ratepayers.

“This is simply not worth the risk.  We must come to the aid of our constituents to stop the $40 million bill that could land on their backs this year alone.  Using the legislative language we have developed through many months of working through the technical assistance provided by the Corps, BPA, and BOR, we can ensure our energy infrastructure, transportation and barging systems, flood control capabilities, irrigation systems, our economy, and in fact—the very fish species the BiOp was developed to protect—shall not be harmed by this reckless order for forced additional spill.  We again implore you to join our efforts.”

Click here for the ful text of the entire letter.


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