The proposal includes comprehensive investments in clean and affordable energy, efficient transportation, water quality, technology development, agriculture, and local communities. If enacted, Rep. Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative would be in alignment with ICL’s conservation priorities and our ongoing campaigns.

A Restored River

The proposal includes funding to complete what would be the largest restoration project in the world. Removing the four federal dams on the lower Snake River would restore the river to a free-flowing, natural state – an essential step in restoring Idaho’s salmon and steelhead to abundance. This action is a critical part of needed efforts to return wild fish to Idaho’s rivers, benefitting river communities, Tribes, and Idahoans.

Affordable, Reliable Energy

Billions of dollars are allocated to building new, renewable energy facilities in the region, many potentially located in Idaho. These investments would improve the affordability, reliability, and security of Idaho’s electricity infrastructure, create thousands of jobs, and bring significant investment to rural communities. Investments would be made in the region’s transmission system, improving grid safety, optimizing the system to meet the region’s needs, and connecting more of the West.

Efficient, Economic Transportation

Rail, highway, and storage infrastructure that has been neglected for decades would be overhauled to foster economic and efficient transportation of grains and other agricultural products from Idaho and eastern Washington. Targeted investments in the regional transportation network would improve safety and support farmers as they grow food for the world.

Clean Water

Watershed partnerships established by the proposal would improve water quality, temperature, and availability in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. With hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, a partnership dedicated to the mid-Snake River would tackle water pollution, waste management, and declining flows in southern Idaho. Similar partnerships in Oregon, Washington, and Montana would work to restore clean water across the Snake and Columbia Basins, the Willamette River, coastal areas, and Puget Sound.

Cutting-edge Technology

The proposed Snake River Center for Advanced Energy Storage would be a leading research and development effort for continuing the transition of the nation’s electrical system toward clean energy. This dedicated organization in Lewiston, Clarkston, and the Tri-Cities would work to revolutionize battery storage technology. The Lewiston-Clarkston area in particular could become a new hub for research and technology jobs in the fight against climate change.

A New National Recreation Area

The restored lower Snake River would be placed under the joint administration of Tribes and the Bureau of Land Management as a National Recreation Area. Millions of dollars in dedicated funds would go toward restoring the river corridor and promoting the river and its surrounding communities. Waterfront property in Lewiston and Clarkston would be revitalized and made into a commercial district to create hundreds of jobs.

Responsible Fish and Energy Management

Responsibility for management of both fish and regional energy planning would be shifted and made more efficient. Under the proposal, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC) would no longer oversee fish and wildlife recovery programs. Management of the region’s endangered salmon, steelhead, and lamprey would pass to the newly-created Northwest State and Tribal Fish and Wildlife Council. This group, composed of four states and four tribal representatives, would administer the program and allocate funding effectively. The NWPCC would take on energy planning, oversee regional resource (energy) adequacy programs, and shepherd energy efficiency practices to be implemented by Northwest utilities.

Certainty for Electric Utilities

BPA’s future would be ensured in multiple ways. First, its costs for fish and wildlife mitigation would be capped annually. Second, the agency’s borrowing authority with the U.S. Treasury (how much money it can borrow) would be nearly doubled. These two actions combined will secure BPA’s financial position for decades to come and benefit customers of consumer-owned utilities in the Northwest by keeping electric rates affordable

For more information on Congressman Simpson’s proposal, visit his website! You can also watch our recent webinar about the plan below.


This comprehensive proposal charts a way forward for abundant fish, clean and affordable energy, transportation, agriculture, and communities across Idaho. Your support matters. Tell Idaho’s leaders that you want to move toward a better future for our state and our region. Download our fact sheet and  action toolkit for more ways to get involved.