Oregon’s Governor Supports Removal Of Snake River Dams

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam

Oregon’s Governor says removing the four lower Snake River dams is the best way to increase salmon runs.  Last week, Kate Brown sent a letter to fellow Democrat Jay Inslee offering her support of his effort to “restore health” to the orcas.


Brown’s letter said “The science is clear, that removing the earthen portions of the four lower Snake River dams is the most certain and robust solution to Snake River salmon and steelhead recovery.  No other action has the potential to improve overall survival two-to three-fold and simultaneously address both the orca and salmon recovery dilemma, while providing certainty in the legal challenge that has complicated operations for decades.  This options would likely provide a dramatic increase in salmon available for orca forage.”


You can read the entire letter from Governor Kate Brown by Clicking Here.


Brown’s letter comes as Governor Inslee is leading a study looking at the economic impact the central and eastern Washington if those dams are removed.  That report is expected to be released next month.


“Governor Brown’s position is not only misguided, it is shocking and extreme,” said Representatives Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Jaime Herrera Beutler. “This is yet another example of state officials trying to interfere in the operation of critical federal infrastructure. In Congress, we will wait for the release of the comprehensive federal study of the river system before jumping to conclusions that would devastate our regional economy and local communities; including those in Oregon.”



If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail gvaagen@cherrycreekradio.com

2 Responses

  1. The way this is being portrayed in the media is misleading. The four lower snake river dams are not going to be “torn out“. Only the earth and portion of the dams will be removed. The improved structures and turbines will be left in place. This procedure is called “mothballing” so that if the dams were ever needed again they could be put back in service. These dams provide minimal benefit and great harm. Their removal would not only provide environmental benefit but economic benefit as well.

  2. The opponents of dams removal are those monied interest who are getting their grain shipments subsidized by the government that has to dredge the build up of silt that collects behind the dams for the barges to pass through the locks. Those barges then have to return to Idaho basically empty. The Bonneville Power Administration spends over $1 billion every year to mitigate salmon loss as they are required to do when they put in the dams. They are running out of money and their mitigation program of barging salmon juveniles down river and dumping them in the estuary has not worked for years. The mortality rate for outmigration of juvenile salmon is 95%.
    When the dams are removed grain can be easily shipped out by railroad at a positive net cost.

    The dams provide a little flood protection as they are “run of the river“ dams, meaning they are kept within five feet of spilling over.
    The dams provide very little hydroelectric power which is usually in surplus in the Northwest.
    The snake river would still provide water for irrigation. It would just have to be pumped little further, the distance the water level would drop without the dams.
    Any loss of recreation created by “snake lake“ would be more than made up for by white water sports and fishing, a net positive for local businesses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *