Share this story...
Snake River Dams
Latest News

Breaching Snake River dams ‘wasteful’ in efforts to save Puget Sound orcas

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Local politicians are speaking out against a measure signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, putting $750,000 toward studying the viability of breaching the Snake River dams. Among opponents to that plan is Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Breaching the dams has long been discussed as a possible fix for reviving the local Chinook salmon population, and in turn, providing aid to the region’s ailing orca population. For McMorris Rodgers, though, it’s less a solution, and more a waste of money and resources.

Could breaching Snake River dams save Southern Resident orcas?

“This is really wasteful spending to study something that will have no impact,” she told The Jason Rantz Show.

Instead, the Eastern Washington Congresswoman proposes other fixes, like reducing pollution in Puget Sound, curbing the ever-expanding population of sea lions, and funding habitat restoration efforts for salmon.

“I think those kind of efforts would be much more impactful than spending money on studying taking out dams,” she continued.

McMorris Rodgers went on to note a potential hit to shipping and commerce, pointing out that “we barge a lot of products up and down the river because the dams.” She also cited the dams as method of flood control, as well as a source of low-cost hydro-power.

“This whole system is foundational to our economy,” she said.

Other opponents of the plan to breach the dams have agreed that it would be an overly expensive project that produces little in the way of results for saving Puget Sound’s orcas.

“Spending hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars to tear down the Snake River dams, would do very little,” Todd Myers of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council told Seattle’s Morning News back in October. “It would be a marginal benefit at best.”

Lawmakers pass sweeping protections for Puget Sound orcas

Not only would it not help, but Myers claims that ultimately, breaching the dams could be “a deadly distraction for orca,” as well as a costly one for taxpayers. He estimated that breaching the dams would lose approximately 7 percent of Washington’s energy.

Most Popular