Monday June 13, 2022

Big Country News

Breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River to prevent the extinction of native salmon, and replacing the benefits the dams provide such as hydropower and barging, could cost between $10.3 billion and $27.2 billion, according to a draft report released Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray.

In anticipation of the report, a coalition of Republican members of Congress introduced legislation that would protect the dams, arguing that they provide irreplaceable energy, irrigation and transportation benefits to the region.

Both announcements are the latest developments in the duel surrounding the Snake River dams and salmon. Tribal leaders and environmental activists have advocated dam breaching for years to save dwindling populations of chinook salmon, steelhead and lamprey from extinction, as well as a way of life for the Nez Perce Tribe. Those efforts had a big win in 2021, when Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson released a $33 billion plan to breach the four dams on the lower Snake River.

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