Murray and Inslee on Snake River Dams 

Washington’s Governor and Senior Senator recommend replacing the services of the Lower Snake River dams

What’s next for Lower Snake dam removal?

After months of public input and stakeholder meetings, Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee issued their final report and recommendations on replacing the services of the four Lower Snake River dams.   

First the good news: The report says that replacing the dams’ services is feasible, and dam removal is urgently needed to restore salmon, orcas, and Tribal rights. 

And the bad news: The recommendations contain no plan for replacing the dams’ electricity; no deadline; and no standard for when replacement of the dams’ services will be considered complete. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Whether Senator Murray and Governor Inslee’s recommendations turn out to be lip service—or the beginning of a real solution—will depend on them working quickly, alongside the Biden Administration, to create an actionable plan and concrete goals for removing the dams and replacing their services within the decade. And, of course, they need to keep hearing from people like you.

While the report is not everything we hoped for, it is nevertheless a sign of progress. Just a few years ago, no politician in the Pacific Northwest would even say “Snake River Dam removal” in public. With your help, we’ve come a long way. But there’s still a long road ahead.  

At Columbia Riverkeeper, we’re going to continue to fight for healthy salmon runs and clean water. We’re fighting for Snake River salmon on a federal level with the Nez Perce Tribe. And we’ll continue holding dam operators accountable for polluting our rivers.

Please consider becoming a member of Columbia Riverkeeper. Your contributions go directly to advocate for the Columbia’s iconic salmon and the people and cultures that rely on them.

About Our Work

The Snake River is the Columbia’s largest tributary. The Snake and its feeder streams—many of which are mighty rivers in their own right—drain most of Idaho.