Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Senator James Risch (R-ID), along with their colleagues from the Pacific Northwest, today called out the Biden administration for its lack of transparency and political intervention in processes that could lead to breaching the Lower Snake River dams.
The series of letters comes just weeks after the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a draft report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommending at least one Lower Snake River dam be breached in order to recover endangered salmon, as well as an analysis commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) outlining the scenarios under which the power benefits of the four dams could be replaced.
In response, Rodgers and Risch were joined in sending letters to CEQ, NOAA, BPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Steve Daines (R-MT), and Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), and Cliff Bentz (OR-02).
Below are highlights and excerpts from the letters:
“As members of the Northwest delegation, we write to express our deep concern about recent actions taken by this administration which have demonstrated a seeming disregard for scientific integrity. Specifically, we were appalled by the lack of transparency and obvious political intervention in processes regarding the recent release of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) draft “report” relating to the Columbia River Basin. Even more alarming, we have received further indication of political maneuvering by this administration to prevent information on the costs of replacing the power generated by the Lower Snake River dams on the Federal Columbia River Power System from being made public prior to the release of the previously mentioned NOAA draft ‘report.’
“The infrastructure on the Columbia River System provides invaluable benefits to the Pacific Northwest, including carbon-free energy, flood control mitigation, irrigation, navigation, and recreation benefits. Balancing these vital interests with species conservation is not an easy task. It is made significantly more difficult when science and collaboration is replaced by politically-motivated intervention.
“The recent actions by this administration have sown complete distrust in this administration’s ability to lead with facts, science, and transparency regarding the Columbia River System. These actions will undoubtedly have long-term and damaging effects on this administration’s ability to bring diverse stakeholders together to chart a path forward on species recovery and preservation of the vital benefits of the Columbia River System.”
CLICK HERE to read the letter to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
CLICK HERE to read the letter to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad.
CLICK HERE to read the letter to CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory.
CLICK HERE to read the letter to BPA Administrator John Hairston.
NOTE: In March, Rodgers and Risch also led PNW lawmakers in demanding answers from ten federal agencies involved in the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s exploration of plans to breach the Lower Snake River dams. Click here to read those letters.