We have more momentum than ever before to make important investments that put us on the path to restore the lower Snake River, breach four outdated dams, and restore salmon habitat across the Northwest. Tell the Transportation, Ways and Means, and Appropriations committees to fund a plan for meeting all of the region's needs in a post-dam reality.
And right now, we have a new and important opportunity to gain even more momentum: the Washington State Legislature just started its 2023 legislative session and will consider two significant budget requests from Governor Inslee to advance planning for lower Snake River dam removal. The two requests would fund planning to assess how the energy and transportation benefits of the lower Snake River dams can be replaced so they can be breached. These analyses are of critical importance because they will form key pieces of a blueprint for the investments that will ensure Snake River communities benefit from dam breaching as well as Snake River salmon will.
Snake River 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.
We don’t have any more time to waste. The dams are a physical manifestation of the harmful, colonialist mindset that is driving the biodiversity crisis we face today. They are pushing what was once one of the most prolific salmon runs in the world towards extinction and continue to violate the treaty rights of the Nez Perce and other tribes — and there’s no amount of money the government can spend to adequately mitigate for these losses while the dams remain in place.
A future without the dams is a brighter one, and the legislature must move us towards that future by funding Governor Inslee’s Snake River planning requests. Call on it to act today.