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Restore the Snake River

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What’s At Stake

After decades of hard work, we are making progress in the fight to restore the Snake River. Senator Murray and Governor Inslee published their report on the issue, and 24,472 Earthjustice supporters called for the government to pursue the only real solution to the crisis the salmon are facing – breaching the dams. Now, it’s up to us to convince Congress to authorize the Army Corps to breach the dams.

The dams are a physical manifestation of the harmful, colonialist mindset that drives the biodiversity crisis. They are pushing what was once one of the most prolific salmon runs in the world towards extinction and continue to violate the Nez Perce Tribe’s treaty rights – and there’s no amount of money the government can spend to adequately mitigate those issues while the dams remain in place.

The facts are on our side, but that’s not enough to make Congress act – we need sustained public pressure. Help us get the job done by sending a letter to your members of Congress.

We don’t have any more time to waste. These 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. The 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.

Opponents of dam breaching point to the predicted cost of breaching the dams and investing in Snake River communities over the next 50 years as reasons to maintain the status quo. The truth is, the cost of keeping the dams and failing to make those investments is far higher – extinction of Snake River salmon and steelhead, destruction of a way of life for Native Americans, loss of fishing jobs, and billions more in spending to keep the aging dams providing the limited services they offer. The federal government has already squandered some $20 billion on failed plans to restore healthy salmon populations in the Snake and Columbia basin. It’s time we stop pouring more good money into bad ideas and invest in solutions that will actually work.

For better or for worse, it’s up to Congress now. Join us in contacting your members of Congress to urge them to authorize dam breaching and investments in Snake River communities as soon as possible.

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.