Inslee's Snake River Dam report a waste of time and money, say Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse


January 2, 2020

-File photo

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th Dist.)

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) blasted a $750,000, year-long study of the Snake River Dams as a waste of taxpayers' funds and time. Gov. Jay Inslee's Lower Snake River Dams Stakeholder Engagement Report was recently released and is now seeking public comment.

In a joint statement, Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse reiterated their displeasure with the study, a $750,000 state-funded study on breaching the federally owned and operated Snake River dams in central and eastern Washington. At the time the study was announced, McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse both voiced opposition, and urged the governor to veto the line item from the budget, citing widespread support for the dams.

"What this report tells us is Governor Inslee spent three-quarters of a million dollars and a year's time to conclude 'there are differing perspectives' and 'more information needed' on this issue," said Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers. "We had no idea a year ago when we said this study would be a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars just how accurate we'd be – imagine how far $750,000 could have gone to directly support salmon recovery efforts. Every taxpayer in our state should be outraged."

Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers continued, "We will continue to work in Congress with local stakeholders and federal partners-who are already conducting a comprehensive environmental analysis based on science, not opinions-to improve salmon recovery and fish passage within the federally owned and operated dam system, while maintaining and optimizing the clean, renewable hydroelectric power our communities and economies rely on. In the meantime, since the Governor's so-called 'public workshops' next month will not allow for public testimony, we encourage all community members to submit their comments and concerns on the report to ensure our voices are heard."

The Lower Snake River Dam Stakeholder Engagement Report is open for public comment until January 24, 2020. Citizens may contribute public comment online, by e-mail, or by mail. The email address is [email protected]

There will be three public workshops to discuss the findings of the study, which will include a presentation of the report followed by a panel discussion representing different interests. Per the Governor's Office, there will not be time for public testimony during the workshops. Audience members may submit written questions to be asked of the panel if time is available, and written comments will be accepted.

Public workshop dates and locations listed below:

January 7, 2020 – Clarkston

Quality Inn & Suites and Quay Convention Center

700 Port Drive, Clarkston

6-9 p.m.

January 9, 2020 – Vancouver

Washington State University Vancouver – Dengerink Administration Building

14204 NE Salmon Avenue, Vancouver

6-9 p.m.

January 13, 2020 – Tri-Cities

Pasco Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center

2525 North 20th Avenue, Pasco, 6-9 p.m.

-Submitted photo

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th Dist.)


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