SALEM — Governor Kate Brown today commended Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray for their leadership commissioning a state-federal report studying the viability of replacing the services provided by the Lower Snake River dams prior to breaching them, a step needed to restore imperiled salmon and steelhead stocks to healthy and harvestable levels.
The report confirms what Governor Brown and the State of Oregon have long maintained: the science is clear that urgent action is necessary to avoid the extinction of salmon and steelhead stocks. A comprehensive solution for the region will provide the highest and only reasonable certainty of avoiding the extinction of several iconic salmon and steelhead stocks that are ecologically, economically, and culturally critical, while also meeting the needs of everyone in the region. It is also clear that collaboration towards a comprehensive solution will provide a more enduring fix than pursuing litigation alone. For years, Governor Brown has supported a collaborative solution for the region that restores abundant salmon and steelhead stocks alongside a robust, growing regional economy that supports affordable, renewable power; agriculture; and affordable transportation of goods––while also respecting Tribal culture, history, and treaty rights.
“I’d like to thank Governor Inslee and Senator Murray for examining the science and data surrounding this issue, and for coming to the conclusion that the status quo is unacceptable and immediate action is needed,” said Governor Brown. “Oregon, Washington, and a bipartisan group of leaders from across the Northwest all agree: Salmon and steelhead are central to the Columbia Basin’s ecosystem, economy, and way of life, and we must find a collaborative path forward to prevent their extinction while serving the interests of everyone in the region.
“To have the highest certainty of success in these efforts, this report also recognizes the scientific necessity of breaching the Lower Snake River dams as part of a comprehensive set of actions, including making the significant federal investments necessary to replace their power generation and economic contributions. In Oregon, we know that environmental protection and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. We appreciate the continued commitment from the Biden-Harris administration to develop a science-based, collaborative, cooperative, and enduring solution for the Columbia Basin.”
In early August, Oregon and its partners were able to reach an agreement with the federal government to extend a stay of litigation surrounding this issue, allowing all sides to move forward with a thoughtful and collaborative approach to reach a comprehensive solution for the Columbia Basin.