Spring into Action with Columbia Riverkeeper

Your tireless work to protect the Columbia River matters.

Spring into Action with Columbia Riverkeeper

Your tireless work to protect the Columbia River matters. In 2021, we celebrated monumental victories: defeating the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery; convincing the City of Portland to shut down the Zenith oil-by-rail terminal; enforcing the Clean Water Act and stopping thousands of pounds of toxic pollution from flowing into the Columbia; and much more.

As the Columbia Gorge’s epic wildflowers burst to life, so must we. Join Columbia Riverkeeper’s team as we spring into action to keep up the tremendous, humbling work of collectively fighting for what we love: clean water, our climate, and our communities.

Campaign: Stop TC Energy’s Fracked Gas Pipeline Expansion

Why it Matters: We need to break up with fracked gas. Now. But the fossil fuel industry has other plans for the Pacific Northwest. TC Energy is full steam ahead with plans to expand its Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline by 250,000 dekatherms per day—the equivalent of 1.2 million households' gas use each day. That’s an awful lot of gas to pipe into a region that is clearly moving away from its reliance on fracked gas. The Pacific Northwest is well-positioned to block another large fossil fuel project to prevent the lock-in of dirty energy for decades to come.

What You Can Do: Bombard the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and elected officials with messages demanding they tackle the climate crisis—and deny TC Energy’s proposal. This summer FERC plans to issue a draft environmental impact statement probing the climate, public health, and environmental justice impacts of building a new gas compressor station, and expanding three existing compressor stations, along the existing GTN pipeline. As a Riverkeeper supporter, you make possible our creative legal and community organizing strategies to stop this dangerous new proposal.

Campaign: Remove the Lower Snake River Dams

Why it Matters: Tribal Nations, Indigenous people, and communities across the Pacific Northwest rely on salmon and steelhead. The Snake River once produced between one third and one half of the Columbia’s salmon, including millions of Chinook, steelhead, coho, and sockeye. The high mountains of northern Idaho are some of the best salmon breeding areas in the Lower 48, insulated from development and the worst effects of climate change—if the fish can get there. In the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built four dams on the Lower Snake River to allow barging and generate a small amount of electricity. As scientists, Tribes, and fishermen all warned, Snake River salmon and steelhead populations have collapsed—and some scientists say they could go extinct in the next 20 years.

What You Can Do: Join the Nez Perce Tribe and other Tribal Nations across the Pacific Northwest in calling on Members of Congress to enact a plan for Lower Snake River dam removal before the end of 2022. As a Riverkeeper member, you support our community organizing to activate people and support dam removal. You also fund our lawsuits challenging the federal government’s failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws.

Campaign: Clean Up the Hanford Nuclear Site

Why it Matters: The lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest runs along the Hanford Nuclear Site, home to some of the most dangerous pollution on Earth. Hanford is a result of the nuclear arms race that started with World War II and played out through the Cold War. For decades, the federal government stored highly radioactive and toxic waste in 177 underground tanks or dumped the pollution directly into the ground. Now, the U.S. Dept. of Energy is responsible for one of the largest nuclear cleanup efforts in the world. Our goal: work in solidarity with Tribal Nations to hold the government accountable for protecting people and the Columbia.

What You Can Do: Engage in one of the most important—and complicated—cleanups in the world. We need you to sign petitions and speak up at public hearings advocating for cleanup plans that will protect the Columbia for generations. As a Riverkeeper member, you support our attorneys and community organizers who watchdog government decisions on Hanford cleanup, arm you with the facts and law to make a difference, and inspire people. Hanford is a place worth fighting for.

Campaign: Restore Fish Passage on the Lewis River

Why it Matters: The Lewis River basin is famous for salmon, stunning waterfalls, big trees, and blurry bigfoot sightings. On its way to the mighty Columbia, the Lewis River flows through three large hydroelectric dams: Yale, Swift, and Merlin. These dams provide electricity and the reservoirs create recreational opportunities. But the dams also stop Lewis River salmon and steelhead from reaching their native spawning streams.

What You Can Do: Hold PacifiCorp accountable. In 2004, PacifiCorp, the company that owns the Lewis River dams, and a Berkshire-Hathaway subsidiary, promised the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Yakama Nation, and Washington state that the dams would be improved to let salmon reach their spawning areas. Now, PacifiCorp is trying to renege on its promise. Why? Building and running fish passage facilities costs money. By breaking its promise, PacifiCorp stands to pocket over $100 million. As a Riverkeeper supporter, you make possible our legal and communications strategies to shine a floodlight on PacifiCorp’s misdeeds and hold the company to its word.

Campaign: Protect Sacred Tribal Sites and Habitat from Hydro Development

Why it Matters: The Columbia Hills tower over the Columbia River near the John Day dam. Those hills are sacred to multiple Tribal Nations. The hills are also home to peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and multiple bat species. Now, Rye Development wants to build the Pacific Northwest’s largest pumped-storage hydroelectric development by excavating two, 60-acre reservoirs in the area. The result: irreparable destruction of at least seven Tribal cultural and religious sites and obliteration of Tribal Members’ access to traditional gathering and religious sites.

What You Can Do: Speak up. This summer, Washington state will release the draft environmental impact statement for the Goldendale Pumped Storage proposal. You know the drill. You can sign petitions, submit letters to the editor, spread the word within your networks, and testify at virtual public hearings. Stand in solidarity with Tribal Nations’ calling on Gov. Inslee and the Wash. Dept. of Ecology to deny development permits. As a Riverkeeper member, you support our communications team reshaping the narrative from Rye Development’s endless barrage of greenwashing. You also support our attorneys, who prepare ironclad legal comments to convince Washington state to do the right thing.

Campaign: Vancouver’s Time to Tackle the Climate Crisis

Why it Matters: Cities have a powerful role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting community members impacted by fossil fuel facilities. In the wake of the monumental victory over the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal, Tesoro-Savage, dedicated community members pivoted to the City of Vancouver, asking local elected officials to take on the fossil fuel industry.

What You Can Do: Counterbalance the fossil fuel industry’s intense lobbying effort by championing a permanent prohibition on new and expanded largescale fossil fuel developments. In 2022, Vancouver, WA, will tackle climate change through a Climate Action Plan and with a permanent ordinance to prohibit the construction of new—and the expansion of existing—large-scale fossil fuel terminals. This includes rail terminals that bring in unit trains of coal, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied petroleum or propane gas. As a Riverkeeper member, you support our community organizers bolstering the incredible home-grown activism in Vancouver.

Campaign: Enforce the Clean Water Act

Why it Matters: Salmon. Drinking water. Religious ceremonies. Swimming. People rely on the Columbia’s cold, clean waters for countless uses. The Columbia River basin accumulates pollution from industry, wastewater treatment plants, and runoff from agricultural lands, logging, industrial sites, and city streets. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the basin a “Critical Large Aquatic Ecosystem” because toxic contamination and other pollution is so severe. Toxic pollution puts people who eat local fish at risk, and jeopardizes the public’s right to eat locally-caught fish. Rising water temperatures also threaten salmon and other aquatic life that rely on cool water for survival.

What You Can Do: Your donations will hold polluters accountable in court. You can fund this critical work by increasing your donation, becoming a monthly giver, encouraging friends to join, or leaving a legacy gift to Riverkeeper in your will. Our attorneys crack down on illegal pollution by enforcing the Clean Water Act. Our top priority: Stop the pollution. Our second goal: Deter industry from violating the law in the first place. How? Our settlements require the offending company to pay a penalty. As part of the lawsuit settlement, the penalty funds support projects by other organizations that benefit water quality. This spring we’re prosecuting two of our biggest cases against the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Longview for years of illegal industrial stormwater pollution. You make possible bold actions against two of the largest public ports in Washington state.

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