Statement: Inslee/Murray report provides blueprint for breaching the Lower Snake River Dams and saving salmon and orcas

Media Contacts

SEATTLE – Gov. Jay Inslee and United States Sen. Patty Murray released on Thursday a draft report on dam breaching on the Lower Snake River. The draft report, entitled “Lower Snake River Dams: Benefit Replacement Draft Report,” was released after a months-long assessment started in December 2021 to determine how the dams’ services could be replaced and the impacts on salmon populations currently facing extinction.

The report details the range of services provided by the dams and the costs of replacing those services if the dams were breached. The report finds that replacing these services is possible, and would require major investments in infrastructure projects. 

There is currently a public comment period for this draft report until July 11, 2022. Following this public comment period, the report will be updated and released with recommendations. 

Pam Clough, advocate with Environment Washington, released the following statement:

“The report released today by Governor Inslee and Senator Murray affirms what we and our allies have been saying for years: that breaching the four dams on the Lower Snake River is the best chance we have to bring salmon and orcas back from the brink of extinction.

 “The report shows that breaching the Lower Snake River dams and replacing the services they provide is possible, but will come with a price tag. Over the past four decades, billions of dollars have been spent to mitigate the negative impacts that these dams have had on salmon populations, and nothing is working. Not implementing the solution we know will work– breaching the dams– means we would risk losing our salmon and orcas forever, and frankly, that cost is simply too much to bear.

“We hope that Washingtonians, Pacific Northwesterners and Americans at large make their voices heard by submitting a public comment on this draft report. We need to let our elected officials know that we support doing all that we can to save salmon, and in turn, orcas.”

Note: Comments on the draft report can be provided through a form on the website or via email or mail. Emailed comments can be sent to [email protected] with the email subject line “Draft LSRD Benefit Replacement Study.Comments must be submitted by 5pm PST on July 11, 2022.