WASHINGTON D.C.- Congressman Dan Newhouse and Cath McMorris Rodgers are applauding a house committee today after the passage of legislation that protects the Columbia and Snake River dams.
The bipartisan bill asks the Beureau of Reclamation, the Bonneville Power Administratino and the US Army Corps of Engineers to operate the Federal Columbia River Power System in line with the 2014 Biological Opinion until 2022.
This removes unnecessary federal barriers to water and power resources according to House Natural Resources Committee members, while also protecting the environment to ensure dams and fish can coexist. Newhouse, who has been vocal about protecting the dams in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, says the passage of the legislation helps preserve the benefits of dams for Central Washington communities and hopes work continues to safeguard resources while investing in fish recovery efforts.
“Without Snake and Columbia river dams and the many benefits they provide, life in Central Washington as we know it would be unrecognizable,” said Newhouse. “I represent communities that actually live with the consequences of forced increased spill or potentially breaching dams, whether through higher electricity rates, higher transportation costs, reduced access to irrigation water, reduced flood control, and more. I appreciate the support from colleagues on both sides of the aisle for this bipartisan legislation to preserve the benefits of dams that communities in Central Washington depend on. We need to safeguard our dams while continuing to invest in fish recovery efforts because the cost of the alternative is too high for rural communities. I am grateful to Chairman Bishop for his support in committee as this legislation moves forward.”
With a commitment from the Speaker of the House, the legislation will now head to the floor of the House of Representatives for a full vote in the coming weeks.
“This is a bipartisan bill with broad local support from citizens in the Pacific Northwest. It removes unnecessary federal barriers to water and power resources while protecting the environment, and I thank Rep. McMorris Rodgers and her colleagues from the region for their ongoing work to move this bill forward,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said.