Federal agencies to begin hearing on Northwest federal hydro dams next week

Federal agencies to begin hearing on Northwest federal hydro dams next week

Starting next week, federal agencies will hold a series of public meetings about the federal hydropower dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The purpose is to hear from Northwest residents about dam operations, benefits, and the dams’ impact on air, water, land and wildlife, including endangered salmon.

In a May 2016 ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon requested the agencies to review all reasonable options for achieving the goals of the hydrosystem (power generation, flood control, navigation, irrigation, recreation), in order to minimize the system’s negative impacts.

The first step in this three-year review process are 15 public “scoping” meetings across the region, also called NEPA meetings, after the National Environmental Policy Act.