A recent report issued by Washington Governor Jay Inslee and senator Patty Murray attempted to answer questions about the economic impact to SE Washington and beyond if the Snake River dams were removed.  However, according to Darryll Olsen with the Columbia Snake River Irrigators Association, the report offered very few answers and did not clear up confusion between the two sides of the argument.  Olsen noted one sentence in the 113-page report indicated that Murray and Inslee believe the four lower Snake River dams cannot be breached without Congressional authority and funding.  He added that is a political determination, not a legal assessment.


“Senator Murray and Governor Inslee effectively took dam breeching off of the table within any kind of political framework.  The reason why I say that is they are astute politicians, they understand that there is not going to be any form of congressional authorization for dam breeching either between now and November, and certainly not after November.”


Olsen added the plaintiffs, which includes the state of Oregon, tribal groups and several environmental organizations, didn’t get much out of this report either.


“And we didn’t get very much out of it to the extent we were looking for a lot more structure, and a lot more political direction than what was provided here.  We can be very pleased that they’ve effectively  politically taken lower Snake River dam breaching off of the table.  It’s just very unclear if the plaintiffs and judge Simon are going to accept that.”


Olsen pointed out the report also demonstrated the dam breaching would negatively affect several major economic sectors, including clean hydro power production, river navigation-transportation, irrigation, recreation, food processing as well as some environmental resources. 



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