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Restore the Snake River

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What’s At Stake

Earlier this year, we let you know about an historic development in the decades-long effort to prevent the extinction of Snake River salmon. After 20 years of litigation, we succeeded in bringing state and federal leaders to the table to find a long-term, comprehensive solution that restores Snake River salmon to a healthy abundance. Earthjustice, our partners, and the federal government agreed to pause ongoing litigation until July 2022 to provide space to work out the details of a solution. Now, the pause is nearly over and the rubber has yet to meet the road — the fate of the Snake River salmon is still up in the air. We need your help to mobilize in our last remaining months to ensure we don’t waste this opportunity. Join us in calling for our leaders to forge a comprehensive solution before the July deadline.

Salmon populations and the highly endangered orcas that rely on them are headed towards extinction, but we can restore thriving salmon runs and literally pump life into Northwest ecosystems if we breach four dams on the lower Snake River. These dams stop salmon from accessing millions of acres of prime spawning habitat and make the lower Snake River a lethally hot gauntlet for these fish. A federal and state commitment to breaching the dams remains our best chance to bring the salmon back.

Removing the dams is the most crucial step to creating the comprehensive solution that Snake River salmon and Northwest communities need and deserve. We have an opportunity to change direction and not only achieve the largest river restoration and salmon recovery in history, but also to provide long-overdue justice for Native American Tribes and make the investments needed to build a clean energy future that includes strong farming, fishing, recreation, and port businesses. We can do this by working together to build sustainable economies and ecosystems in the Northwest.

Time is short and the need for action is urgent. Snake River salmon and southern resident orcas are in critical condition, and we must convince our leaders to follow through and find a solution before the rapidly approaching deadline. We have the tools to restore abundant salmon runs and create prosperous local economies, and now we need the political will. Tell your members of Congress we need them to get the job done.

An orca breaching
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok

An orca breaching.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.