Restore Wild Salmon - Remove the Lower Snake River Dams

  • by: Earthjustice
  • recipient: Administrator Mainzer, Commander Spellmon, and Director Lee
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest's Columbia and Snake rivers.

We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River… but we need your help.

For nearly 20 years, despite multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon.

Now the agencies are seeking the public's input on what they should do.

For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin.

Astonishingly, both taxpayers and rate-payers—you and me—lose millions of dollars operating and maintaining these dams.

Further, the dams exacerbate the effects of climate change on the few remaining salmon, trapping the fish in slack-water reservoirs that overheat and contribute to disease, mortality and increased predation. Removing these four dams is a concrete action to combat the worst effects of climate change on our wild salmon.

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.
Remove the Snake River dams--restore wild salmon
Dear Administrator Mainzer, Commander Spellmon, and Director Lee:

It's past time to remove the four outdated, salmon-killing dams on the lower Snake River. This is an alternative you must consider fully and fairly in the court-ordered environmental impact statement you are preparing for managing the Columbia and Snake River dams.

You must base your analysis of this alternative on the best available science about salmon and other species that depend on them, including endangered killer whales. The analysis must also fully account for the market and non-market economic costs and benefits of dam removal, including the benefits of a restored river and the money tax- and rate-payers will save if the dams go. You must incorporate in your evaluation replacing the electricity from these dams with low-cost carbon-free power, not power from fossil fuels. And you must actually mitigate for the existing and future impacts of climate change on Snake River salmon.

Such an analysis will lead you to conclude that these dams must go. We don't need them anymore--but we do need to bring back our irreplaceable wild salmon. The biggest step we can take on the path to salmon restoration in the Snake is to remove the lower Snake River dams.


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