On August 1, Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA) introduced HR 6247, full of dangerous provisions with national implications. If passed into law, this heavy-handed legislation would harm already-endangered salmon and steelhead, stifle job creation, restrict innovation and opportunity in the clean energy sector, and severely constrain the ability of federal agencies and private entities to engage in collaborative solutions to natural resource challenges. The bill was discussed yesterday at a Congressional field hearing in Pasco, WA.
Rebecca Miles, Executive Director of the Nez Perce Tribe, testified at the hearing, and stated her displeasure with HR 6247: “Simply put, H.R. 6247 runs directly counter to the hallmarks of good governance and salmon science. This bill would do great harm to our salmon and the waters they travel and thus to Nez Perce culture and our economic viability. It would stifle collaboration and squelch public-private partnerships, and put thousands of jobs in jeopardy. The sponsors of this legislation seem to be opposed to cost-effective, job-creating, salmon-producing, efforts to restore rivers and revitalize communities, which is just baffling.”
Agreed Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association, who also testified, “HR 6247 would destroy fishing and other jobs and weaken our economy. It even jeopardizes spill, which is the single most important measure in place right now to restore salmon and protect the salmon economy in the Columbia Basin. ”
Added Sara Patton of the NW Energy Coalition, “Here in the 21st century, we need to find shared solutions for salmon and energy since both are intrinsic to our rivers’ health. Instead, Congressman Hastings’ bill offers 19th-century policy. It has no silver lining -- HR 6247 is just plain bad for the Northwest’s clean energy economy.”
HR 6247 would if passed into law:
• Jeopardize “spill” at the Columbia and Snake River dams – a salmon protection measure that significantly increases salmon survival and has created family-wage jobs in the region.
• Prohibit federal agencies from restoring rivers by removing, or even studying the removal of any dam (public or private) in the United States - whether it currently generates energy or not - without explicit approval from Congress.
• Prevent any federal agency work on active dam removal mitigation or restoration measures - without explicit approval from Congress.
• Weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): the bedrock law that guarantees citizens the opportunity to participate in decisions affecting public health and safety and natural resources such as clean water.
• Stop or delay any federal funding for certain energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives proposed by the Department of Energy, a move that would turn back the clock on the Northwest’s clean energy economy and jobs.
Full text of the bill can be found at: http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hr6247-112.pdf