‘Bold’ and ‘Transformative’; Gov. Inslee responds to Idaho Rep. Simpson’s dam-breaching proposal

Image Courtesy: KXLY, H/T Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Inslee responded to Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson’s radical proposal to breach dams along the Snake River to preserve fish life and invest in clean energy, calling it “bold” and “transformative.”

Inslee did not throw his full support behind it but said he appreciates the boldness of the plan, especially in its investments in regional industries and clean energy.

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The flagship item of Simpson’s proposal includes breaching several dams along the river, with the aim of reversing the dwindling salmon and steelhead populations conservationists warn are on the brink of extinction.

It also includes several billion dollars in clean energy projects to supplant whatever energy is lost with these breaches.

In all, the project includes $16 billion in clean energy development, $4.6 billion in watershed partnerships and water quality projects, $2.3 billion to restore the lower Snake River in Washington, $3.5 billion to rebuild rail and road infrastructure and $1.85 in transitional funding for industries that rely on the rivers and more.

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Inslee issued the following statement:

“Washington welcomes Rep. Simpson’s willingness to think boldly about how to recover Columbia and Snake River salmon in a way that works for the entire region and invests – at a potentially transformative level – in clean energy, transportation and agriculture.

“I believe that the Columbia Basin Collaborative, a regional process the governors of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are in the process of convening, must play a prominent role in the formation and implementation of a comprehensive plan for the future of the Columbia and Snake rivers. The Collaborative can complement and inform Congressional efforts, and help our states achieve salmon recovery goals in a manner that is consistent with protecting and enhancing clean, reliable and affordable energy, transportation systems and agriculture.

“Conversations among different interests and across party lines are essential to identifying creative solutions that work for salmon, energy and the economy. This is important – to Washington’s tribes, people, economy and culture. I look forward to engaging with our state’s congressional delegation to find solutions that fully meet the needs of our state.”

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