McMorris Rodgers Responds to 9th Circuit Appeals Court Ruling Regarding Columbia River Salmon

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers released the following statement today regarding the 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruling on the biological opinion:
“I am disappointed by the ruling today that upholds Judge Redden’s decision to overturn the 2004 biological opinion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the wrong decision that ignores the progress we have made on fish recovery. It is deeply concerning that judges are becoming rivermasters who are dictating how we use our rivers systems. We must get these decisions out of the courts and back to the local communities.

“Because of Judge Redden’s mandated spill in the summer of 2005, consumers lost nearly $75 million in electricity generation, while saving only 20-200 fish. That is a $3 million fish, paid by ratepayers in the Pacific Northwest. This ruling would allow this spill to happen again.

“Some are using this ruling as an opportunity to advocate for the removal of the Snake River Dams. Removing the dams would have a tremendous impact on our region’s environment and economy. Our dams provide over 40 percent of our region’s electricity, provide irrigation that is crucial to our billion dollar agriculture industry, and allow for barges to transport our goods.

“We need to work towards a collaborative approach to solve the biological opinion and restore balance to the use of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. I hope we can come to a reasonable solution that helps salmon, keeps our energy rates low, and doesn't call for tearing down our dams.

“As the ranking Republican on the Water and Power subcommittee, I will focus on bills that recognize the renewable nature of hydropower and the cost of ESA compliance. I am committed to protecting our Snake River dams and preserving the vital role they play in our region.”

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