MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Leaked document details energy alternatives to Snake River dams

Nov 30, 2023, 9:57 AM | Updated: 10:42 am

document snake river energy...

FILE - The Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River is seen from the air near Colfax, Wash., on May 15, 2019. The Biden administration has released two reports arguing that removing dams on the lower Snake River may be needed to restore salmon runs to historic levels in the Pacific Northwest. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

A document leaked from the Biden Administration details plans that the federal government is prepared to build clean energy projects in the Northwest to possibly replace power generated by dams on the Snake River.

The document is a draft agreement to uphold 168-year-old treaties with four tribes in the Pacific Northwest that preserved their right to harvest fish in the river, among other things.

More news: Native nations on front lines of climate change share knowledge and find support at intensive camps

That’s a strong sign the U.S. will consider breaching at least four of the controversial dams.

The draft also includes billions of dollars in funding for analyzing the region’s energy needs, improving transportation infrastructure, making the power grid more resilient and restoring salmon, steelhead and other native fish runs in the Columbia River basin. Oregon and Washington would be partners in the effort along with the four tribes and the federal government.

There has been growing recognition across the U.S. that the harms some dams cause to fish outweigh their usefulness. Dams on the Elwha River in Washington state and the Klamath River along the Oregon-California border have been or are being removed.

Alyssa Roberts, spokesperson for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told the Associated Press the negotiations are ongoing.

“As part of the court-approved confidential mediation with Tribes, States, and other parties to develop a long-term, durable path forward, the U.S. Government is developing a package of actions and commitments that we are discussing with all parties involved in the mediation,” she said in a statement.

In October, Biden directed federal agencies to use all available resources to restore abundant salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin, but Biden’s memo stopped short of calling for the removal of the dams.

Contributing: Associated Press

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Leaked document details energy alternatives to Snake River dams