Rep. Dan Newhouse Says Save Our Dams

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TRI-CITIES- On Monday, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) hosted a press conference in Tri-Cities with a variety of stakeholders who oppose the court-mandated spill order scheduled to begin today (Tue) at the eight lower Snake River and lower Columbia River dams.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland ruled that more water must spill over dams from April to mid-June to help young salmon migrating to the ocean. Opponents complain that the spill will mean less water to produce electricity, which increases the utility bills for Northwest ratepayers.

“As I said, increasing spill starts tomorrow, it has an estimated price tag of over $40 million in higher electricity rates from increasing spill in just this one year alone,” Newhouse said. “To me that’s totally unacceptable and avoidable. We’re standing here not just to say we will work together to prevent further spill increases and rising electricity rates due to this order but we are working to save our dams from the prospect of being breached.”

Some of the Tri-City and state leaders Newhouse met with Monday also argued that more spill could harm, rather than help, young salmon. Newhouse said during the event that a bipartisan bill that could be voted on later this month would keep the status quo at the Snake and Columbia River dams until at least 2022, with no court-ordered change to operations.