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Tell Washington senators to fight for the Snake River

Delivery to Senators Murray and Cantwell

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What’s At Stake

Since you last took action to protect the salmon and orcas that are harmed by the Snake River dams, we have continued to press our elected leaders to develop comprehensive legislation to restore the lower Snake River and remove four dams there. Your actions have helped us focus the attention of Senators Murray and Cantwell on this issue. Now, with them feeling the heat, we need to push hard to let them know that Washingtonians on both sides of the Cascades want their leadership to save our salmon and orcas.

Closer to home, there have been some hopeful developments. The Southern Resident orcas — which call Puget Sound home for part of the year — welcomed two new calves in September, and scientists report that other whales may be pregnant as well.  And the four Northwest governors just announced a collaborative effort to recover salmon abundance in the Snake and Columbia rivers. 

The orcas, it seems, are doing all they can to rebuild their community.  State leaders are beginning to do the work as well. We need to make sure we do our part to build a sense of urgency and momentum that will propel a comprehensive solution, one that addresses community needs, assures a clean energy future for our region, honors our commitments to Tribes, and restores the lower Snake River and its iconic salmon runs. 

There’s no way around this — we need bold action, and we need it quickly. For years, biologists have told us that restoring the lower Snake River by removing its four dams is critical for protecting salmon from extinction — potentially returning more than 1 million adult Chinook salmon to Northwest coastal waters to feed hungry orcas and help struggling fishing communities. This is the greatest river restoration opportunity anywhere. But business as usual just won’t get the job done.
 
Help us bring the growing momentum to the other Washington. Please join us in urging Senators Murray and Cantwell to help develop and pass legislation that will provide a comprehensive regional solution for our salmon, orcas, and communities.

Sockeye Salmon
© Neil Ever Osborne, Save Our Wild Salmon, iLCP

Sockeye Salmon handled at Little Redfish Lake Creek trap. Oncorhynchus nerka. Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Idaho, USA.

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.