Gov. Inslee, Sen. Murray on breaching Snake River dams: ‘Must be an option we strive to make viable’

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray released a report on the feasibility of breaching lower Snake River dams to restore salmon populations facing extinction. The report outlines a path to replace dam services before breaching.

In their recommendations, Inslee and Murray said that dam breaching “must be an option we strive to make viable,” and that the extinction of salmon is “categorically unacceptable.”

Before dams are breached, Inslee and Murray are “adamant” that replacement and mitigation of the dams’ benefits is pursued.

The release of Inslee and Murray’s report comes after a 30-day public comment period, during which thousands of people from Washington and across the country expressed support for saving salmon and orca by breaching the dams.

“Salmon and orca are depending on us for their survival,” Pam Clough, an advocate with Environment Washington, said in a statement. “Restoring a free-flowing Lower Snake River is the single best opportunity we have to stop the extinction of these irreplaceable animals.”

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Other organizations across the Northwest voiced their pleasure with Inslee and Murray’s recommendations Thursday as well.

“We agree with the recommendations from Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee that lower Snake River dam replacement services can and must be in place so we can breach the Snake River dams as soon as possible,” said Nancy Hirsh, executive director of the NW Energy Coalition. “We are pleased to see the emphasis on taking action now, as it is vital to enabling this transformation.”

“Inaction is the greatest ally of extinction, and today’s report from Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee provides a critical roadmap of the actions necessary to save imperiled salmon populations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.