State leaders, community gather in Pasco to rally in support of Columbia, Snake River dams

Washington state leaders and community members are pushing for support of the Columbia and Snake River Dams.

U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers held a hearing at Pasco’s city hall on Monday. The goal of the Natural Resources Committee hearing was to discuss what proponents believe the dams provide to our region. A community rally was also held ahead of the hearing outside city hall.

“There’s a tremendous number of benefits that we get that really make this a huge critical part of our economic culture,” said Rep. Newhouse.

Opponents say the dams harm the salmon and ultimately, affect the orca who rely on those salmon for food. However, supporters say the dams provide clean energy while also allowing for navigation, recreation and salmon passage.

“These four (lower Snake River) dams can power nearly 2 million homes or a city the size of Seattle,” said Rep. McMorris Rodger

A bill that was authored by Rep. McMorris Rodgers and sponsored by Rep. Newhouse would require congressional approval to pursue breaching or tearing down the four lower Snake River dams. It would also stop the increased spilling over the Columbia and Snake River dams that started in the Spring.

The bill was approved by the House in April and is now awaiting Senate approval.