McMorris Rodgers Responds to Flawed Dam-Breaching Effort, Tells POTUS to Pick a Side

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today responded to a notice of intent to file a lawsuit from radical environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest attempting to breach the Lower Snake River dams. In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the groups accuse the Army Corps of killing salmon and violating the Endangered Species Act, while claiming a court has authority to order dam removal.

“Dam-breaching advocates don’t care about the facts. If they did, they would see how fundamentally flawed their new lawsuit is,” said Rodgers. “Only Congress has the authority to change the way these federally-managed dams operate, which even President Biden and the White House Council on Environmental Quality admits. That much isn’t up for debate, so it’s time for the president to pick a side: Does he stand by his agencies’ assessment that breaching requires Congressional authorization, or will he cave to the demands of those who will never be satisfied until the dams are ripped out? The clock is ticking.”

In May 2023, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality clearly stated in a public notice that breaching the Lower Snake River dams requires Congressional approval, saying:

In securing the current stay of litigation, the Federal Government agreed to explore lower Snake River habitat restoration opportunities, “including but not limited to migration corridor restoration through breaching the four lower Snake River dams,” which would require Congressional authorization.

Below is an excerpt from the letter and list of demands signed by the Columbia Riverkeeper, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Idaho Conservation League, and Idaho Rivers United:

[We] provide 60 days notice of our intent to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for causing hot water conditions that kill and injure Snake River sockeye salmon in violation of the Endangered Species Act. To remedy these violations, we will ask a court for all necessary relief to reduce, mitigate, or eliminate the hot water conditions caused by the Lower Snake River dams, up to and including dam removal. The federal government can, and should, avoid this litigation by honoring its commitment to develop a credible plan to restore abundant Snake River salmon.

Click here to read the White House CEQ’s public notice.

Click here to read the notice of intent.

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