Oregon governor calls for breaching four Snake River dams

The governor of Oregon has come out in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state, saying it’s the best way to increase endangered salmon runs. Democratic Governor Kate Brown sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee this past week, offering her support for removing the dams. The structures generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control, and allow barges to operate. However, they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds. The state of Washington, under an initiative spearheaded by Inslee, has been gathering information on what Northwest residents think about breaching the four dams – that report is expected in early March. In her letter, Brown said it is clear the “most certain and robust solution to Snake River salmon and steelhead recovery” is removing the dams. The letter drew the ire of Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams. In a joint statement, U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Jaime Herrera Beutler say it is best to wait for the release of a federal environmental study of the Columbia and Snake river hydro systems that was ordered by a U.S. District Court Judge in Portland. (AP)