Snake River Dams and the Simpson Proposal
What you need to know about the four Lower Snake River dams and Rep. Mike Simpson's (R-ID) concept to breach them:
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) has proposed a legislative concept to breach the four Lower Snake River dams in exchange for, among other things, suspending the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and FERC licensing for dams and agriculture across the vast Columbia River basin for 25‒35 years.
Rep. Simpson’s far-reaching concept calls for breaching the dams in ten years. Its other provisions, however, will also expose vulnerable and under-resourced communities across the region to environmental and health hazards by increasing contamination of fish and drinking water; harming fish populations in other parts of the region; increasing harmful agriculture practices that fail to protect the health and conditions for agricultural workers and their families; and eliminating access to courts of justice.
We strongly support removal of the lower four Snake River dams to rebuild the wild salmon and steelhead populations they have harmed—for the fish, the orcas, and the people who depend on those fish. However, we do not support suspending the nation’s most important environmental laws for an entire generation across the vast expanse of the Columbia River Basin as part of a deal to breach these four dams. This proposed deal will not protect native species in the Columbia Basin. Rather, the proposed deal will put the entire region’s salmon and steelhead—along with numerous other species and human health—at great risk. We stand ready to work with those who recognize the need to remove the lower four Snake River Dams without sacrificing the nation’s most important environmental laws across the Columbia Basin.