For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Justin Hayes, Executive Director (208) 345-6933 x 224   

Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, (208) 345-6933 x 214

White House reports confirm lower Snake River dam removal is necessary to recover salmon, energy replacement possible

BOISE, ID – Today, two reports released by the Biden Administration confirm that dam removal on the lower Snake River is necessary to recover salmon in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The reports also found that replacing the energy produced by the four lower Snake River dams is possible. 

“These reports confirm the findings of numerous previous studies about what salmon need to be restored and again underscore the work of Northwest leaders like Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Washington Senator Patty Murray and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to identify how all communities can be made whole through thoughtful investments in infrastructure,” said Justin Hayes, Executive Director of the Idaho Conservation League. 

In releasing the reports, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory stated, “Business as usual will not restore the health and abundance of Pacific Northwest salmon. We need a durable, inclusive and regionally crafted long-term strategy for the management of the Columbia River Basin.” Mallory is coordinating a federal interagency effort to restore Columbia Basin salmon and honor Tribal treaties. 

The report focusing on recovering salmon, entitled Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead, concludes that salmon restoration will require a comprehensive suite of actions, and that the removal of the four lower Snake River dams must be a “centerpiece” action for the recovery of Snake River fish. Collectively, these actions provide the “highest and only reasonable certainty of achieving survival goals.” 

A separate report focusing on energy replacement is entitled BPA Lower Snake River Dams Power Replacement Study, and explores how the dams’ electricity can be replaced in a climate friendly way that serves the people of the Northwest.

“The debate on what is needed for salmon, orca, and Tribes and how to replace the electricity that these dams provide is over,” said Hayes. “These reports are clear. Removing the four lower Snake River dams must happen, and it needs to happen soon. The time to act is now – for salmon, orca and Tribal justice. President Biden and Northwest elected officials need to press forward, follow the conclusions of these reports and lead.”