Restore the Snake River

What's At Stake

In late February, White House officials and representatives from the Six Sovereigns the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, the Nez Perce Tribe and the states of Oregon and Washington – gathered in Washington, D.C., for a ceremonial signing of the historic Columbia River Basin Agreement.   

This agreement signals a monumental step forward and is the result of decades of advocacy from the four Lower Columbia River Treaty Tribes, the states of Oregon and Washington, environmental, fishing and renewable energy groups represented by Earthjustice, and supporters like you. Now it’s time to pressure Congress to act.

The federal commitments tied to the agreement include promises to support salmon restoration, expand clean energy production, and modernize other key services—including energy, transportation, recreation, and irrigation—that are currently provided by the lower Snake River dams.  

But this agreement is only the beginning. In the months and years ahead, the Biden administration will need to make good on their commitments to the Six Sovereigns and take concrete action to restore salmon and plan to replace the services provided by the lower Snake River dams. Thankfully, President Biden’s budget request for the next fiscal year builds on the investments and actions outlined in the agreement by proposing more than $200 million for programs that benefit salmon across the Columbia River Basin. 

Now, it is up to Congress to approve that funding. Tell your Members of Congress to support the President’s Budget Request for Columbia River salmon and help secure urgently needed funding through the FY25 appropriations process. 

A sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Little Redfish Lake Creek, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho.
A sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Little Redfish Lake Creek, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho. (Neil Ever Osborne / Save Our Wild Salmon / iLCP)

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Your Actions Matter

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

You level the playing field.

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

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.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. 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. Read more.

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. Read more.

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 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.