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By Roger Harnack
Franklin Connection 

Snake River salmon pact filed in court

Lawsuit leads to after-breach dam plan

 

Last updated 1/3/2024 at 11:09am



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden Administration and environmental activists formalized an agreement Dec. 14 on plans to manage and improve salmon populations on the Snake River.

A “memorandum of understanding” was filed with U.S. District Court in an attempt to curtail lawsuits over salmon and efforts by environmental activists to breach the four Lower Snake River dams.

The agreement was formally announced Thursday, Dec. 14, by the Biden Administration, more than two weeks after a leaked document was released to the public by 5th Congressional District Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane.

McMorris Rodgers said the previously secret document smacked of backroom deals and a lack of transparency between the activists, the Biden Administration, Gov. Jay Inslee and four tribes.

“This is too significant of a decision to make without an open, honest, and transparent regional dialogue,” McMorris Rodgers said.

McMorris Rodgers district includes all four Lower Snake River Dams.

State Sen. Mark Schoessler, R-Ritzville, has also called for transparency on the issue.

“Long story short, the four Snake River dams are still being targeted by opponents in the distant future, though for now, they appear safe,” the 9th Legislative District senator said. “If the dams’ foes eventually get their way and these dams are removed, it will negatively affect our region in terms of energy, transportation, irrigation and recreation.

In addition to salmon management, the agreement gives the four tribes – Yakama, Nez Perce, Warm Springs and Umatilla – the inside track on power generation should the dams be breached, which would take an act of Congress.

The agreement comes during a years-long lawsuit filed by Earth Justice on behalf of several environmental activist groups seeking to breach the dams.

In addition to the tribes and the Biden Administration, the states of Oregon and Washington participated in developing the pact.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.

 

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