WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a speech at the Conservation in Action 2023 Summit, President Biden stated he would return “healthy and abundant salmon runs back to the Colorado River [Columbia and Snake Rivers],” throwing his support behind radical dam-breaching activists. Rep. Dan Newhouse’s (R-WA) statement on this announcement is below:
“President Biden’s inability to even get the name of the river system that powers, waters, and feeds our communities right proves he is the last person who should be making decisions that impact the men and women of Central Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest. Salmon returns are higher than they’ve been in years, proving the hard work our fish biologists, local conservation partners, tribal neighbors, and federal agencies have been conducting is working. President Biden is perpetuating a dangerous, false narrative with the help of Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representative Simpson and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“Congress alone has the authority to maintain or breach these dams, and I will continue to work in Congress on effective, science-based solutions to protecting our salmon populations while maintaining our powerful hydroelectric dams. Because salmon and dams DO coexist, and to say otherwise is dishonest.”
Rep. Newhouse has been a strong and vocal advocate for protecting the Lower Snake River Dams:
- Last year, Rep. Newhouse introduced the Federal Columbia River Power System Certainty Act, to support the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) and the many benefits it brings to our region by improving and maintaining hydropower assets, ensuring operations throughout the system are conducted in accordance with the latest federal scientific review, and continuing to allow native salmon to recover at record rates.
- In August 2022, Rep. Newhouse and members of the Pacific Northwest delegation called out the Biden Administration in a series of letters for its lack of transparency and political intervention in its efforts to breach the Lower Snake River Dams.
- On August 1, 2022, Rep. Newhouse brought together over 100 community members to rally in support of the Lower Snake River Dams.
- In September 2020, the “Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision” for the Columbia River System Operation Environmental Impact Statement (CRSO EIS) published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration, found that the Lower Snake River Dams should not be breached. Rather, efforts should be focused on improving and maintaining hydropower assets while working to improve salmon passage and conditions.
- In May 2021, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray publicly rebuked plans to breach the Lower Snake River Dams.
- On October 15, 2021, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray announced plans to assess the breaching of the Lower Snake River Dams.
- On October 21, 2021, the Department of Justice announced a settlement reached between the CRSO EIS plaintiffs and federal agencies on injunctive relief, including a stay on the CRSO EIS litigation until July 2022.
- On October 22, 2021, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray announced next steps to deliver a report intended to justify breaching the Lower Snake River Dams by July 2022. Reps. Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers, and Jaime Herrera Beutler released a joint statement reacting to the announcement. Read more here.
- In March, Rep. Newhouse and PNW lawmakers demanded answers from ten federal agencies involved in the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s exploration of plans to breach the Lower Snake River dams.