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SOS Blog

Save Our Wild Salmon

simpson.videoOn  February 7th, 2021 Congressman Simpson (R-ID) proposed an expansive legislative framework to restore endangered salmon populations in the Northwest and invest significantly in its communities and infrastructure. This visionary initiative would couple lower Snake River dam removal with region-wide investments in clean water and natural resources, fishing and farming communities, energy and transportation infrastructure, and more. 

With this $33B proposal, Rep. Simpson has invited an ambitious and urgently-needed conversation about how our region can work together to solve shared problems, seize important opportunities, invest in our communities – and help position the Northwest to meet the challenges we face in the 21st Century.

Save Our wild Salmon has set up this 'Northwest in Transition' Resource Page to help people better understand this proposal and track the conversation that Rep. Simpson has invited. We will update it regularly, so check back to learn about who's weighing in and how.

You can also read SOS' blog on this groundbreaking proposal and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here.


I. 'Northwest in Transition': Congressman Simpson's proposal:
Simpson.graphic

Congressman Simpson's video introducing his proposal (5 minutes)

Slide deck summarizing the 'Columbia Basin Fund' by sector (11 pages) 

Slide deck detailing the Northwest in Transition proposal elements and suggested spending (34 pages)

Congressman Simpson's website


II.  'Northwest in Transition': Select Media Coverage:

GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest (Seattle Times, Feb. 7)

Rep. Simpson proposal calls for breaching four lower Snake River dams (Lewiston Morning Tribune, Feb. 6)

This GOP congressman wants to remove 4 dams to save Idaho’s salmon. It’ll cost billions. (Tri-City Herald, Feb. 6)

Idaho U.S. rep calls for breaching Lower Snake River dams (La Grande Observer, Feb. 8)

Republican wants to breach dams, reshape Pacific Northwest (Energy & Environment News, Feb. 8)

Congressman hopes politics align on divisive Northwest dams (Star Tribune, Feb 15)

‘Devastating impacts’: Idaho Gov. Little opposes Simpson’s plan to breach Snake River dams (Idaho Statesman, Feb 18)

Idaho Rep. Simpson Explains His $34B Plan To Restore The Salmon (Boise State Public Radio, 22 minutes, Feb. 18)

Snake River dams proposal draws accolades, criticism (Peninsula Daily News, Feb 21)

Scientists say removing Snake River dams ‘is necessary’ to restore salmon population (Lewiston Morning Tribune, Feb 23)


III. 'Northwest in Transition': Select Editorials and Guest Opinions:

Idaho Statesman Editorial: At long last, a workable plan to remove Lower Snake River dams and save Idaho’s salmon (Feb. 7) 

Oregonian Guest Opinion: Despite unknowns, dam-breaching proposal is opening honest conversations (Kurt Miller, Feb. 10)

Lewiston Morning Tribune Opinion - Cheers and Jeers: ‘Daring greatly’ (Feb. 12)

Lewiston Morning Tribune Guest Opinion: Simpson’s run of the river (Marc C. Johnson, Feb. 12)

Union-Bulletin Guest Opinion: Rep. Simpson's bold vision to restore salmon runs (Nathaniel Mahlberg, Feb. 14)

Spokesman Review Guest Opinion: From an unforeseen corner comes a push to return dam-breaching to the discussion (Shawn Vestal, Feb. 14)

Andy Kerr Blog: The Simpson Salmon Strategy (Feb. 19)

Statesman Journal Guest Opinion: A plan for salmon, jobs and a strong economy (Feb 19)

Spokesman Review Guest Opinion: The Last Salmon (W. Ron Allen and McCoy Oatman, Feb. 21)

Magic Valley Op-ed: Hartgen wants to gamble for Idaho’s future – I want certainty (Rep. Mike Simpson, Feb. 26)

Lewiston Tribune Guest Opinion: Troy and Schoesler rushed to judgment on Simpson’s fish plan (Don Chapman Feb. 27)


'Northwest in Transition': Select statements by sovereigns, elected officials, stakeholders, and others:

Nez Perce Tribe Executive Council (Feb. 8)

Shoshone-Bannock Tribe (Feb 10)

Spokane Tribe of Indians (Feb 11)

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Feb. 14)

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Feb 18)

Yakama Nation (Feb. 20)

Governor Jay Inslee, Washington State (Feb. 12)

Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon (Feb 12)

Joint statement from U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (WA), and Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR). (Feb 8)

Congressman Derek Kilmer, Washington State, District 6. (Feb 10)

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, District 3. (Feb. 18)

Scientists’ letter on the need for lower Snake River dam removal to protect salmon and steelhead from extinction and restore abundant, fishable populations to Northwest Governors, member of Congress, and Policymakers (Feb 22)

Letter from 40 recreation businesses/organizations to Northwest policymakers asking for the restoration of the lower Snake River (Feb 2021)


 Notable Quotes:

“Working together as a delegation and with the governors, stakeholders and conservationists, we can create a Northwest solution that ends the salmon wars and puts the Northwest and our energy systems on a certain, secure and viable path for decades and restores Idaho’s salmon.”
  - U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)



“I am certain if we do not take this course of action, we are condemning Idaho salmon to extinction.”   
- U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)

“If we give the farmers, bargers, ports, the BPA and communities the necessary resources, each sector can develop a certainty and security putting the Northwest and Idaho salmon on a path to sustained viability,” - U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)

“I have great respect for Representative Simpson, his staff and all those who helped him develop his proposal.”  - U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)

"The conceptual framework released by Rep. Simpson offers a lot of substance for our regional stakeholders to consider as the four governors process gets underway, and I hope this framework will help initiate a productive dialogue on how to achieve our shared goals. As these conversations continue, it is imperative that any future federal actions are based on both sound science and on consensus recommendations for impacted stakeholders." - U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)

"The Columbia-Snake River Basin is home to an incredibly complex web of communities, cultures, ecosystems, and infrastructure – and increasingly, salmon and steelhead populations are in crisis. The status quo is not working; more progress is needed to recover these important species. I applaud Mr. Simpson for his efforts to craft a comprehensive solution that addresses multiple – often competing – needs, to bring communities together, and move us all forward. I'm intrigued by his proposal, which I think deserves thoughtful consideration from all sides. I look forward to working with communities across the region to help craft solutions that help recover these iconic fish on the brink of extinction."  - U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

“All communities in the Columbia River Basin and beyond should be heard in efforts to recover the Northwest’s iconic salmon runs while ensuring economic vitality of the region. Any process needs to balance the needs of communities in the Columbia River Basin, be transparent, be driven by stakeholders and follow the science.”  - Joint Statement from U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ron Wyden (D-OR)

“Iʼd like to thank Rep. Simpson for working with a broad coalition of interested parties across the Northwest to craft this proposal, which will help us to build on the economic opportunities of the Columbia Basin and invest in a clean energy future,”  - Oregon Governor Kate Brown

“Washington welcomes Rep. Simpson’s willingness to think boldly about how to recover Columbia and Snake River salmon in a way that works for the entire region and invests – at a potentially transformative level – in clean energy, transportation and agriculture.”  - Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

“We will support Congressman Simpson’s initiative and we respect the courage and vision he is showing the region. This is an opportunity for multiple regional interests to align with a better future for the Northwest: river restoration and salmon recovery; local and regional economic investment and infrastructure improvement; and long-term legal resolution and certainty.”  - Chairman Shannon Wheeler, Nez Perce Tribe

“There is potential for a lot of healing with this legislation.” – Chairman Shannon Wheeler, Nez Perce Tribe

"Restoring the lower Snake River will allow salmon, steelhead, and lamprey to flourish in the rivers and streams of the Snake Basin. This has long been a priority because these are the CTUIR's ancestral traditional use areas, such as the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, Lostine, Minam, Tucannon and Wallowa Rivers and their tributaries." - Chairwoman Kat Brigham, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

"I urge our Senators and Congressional Representatives to join Congressman Simspon in advocating for legislation to breach the lower Snake River dams, and taking bold action to restore our salmon."  - Chairman Delano Saluskin, Yakama Nation

“Addressing the impacts to the Columbia River Region in a holistic way will require the Region and its political leaders to display the same courage, Congressman Simpson has displayed in releasing this proposed framework. Many details will need to be worked through and many hearts and minds won over, however, acknowledging that they system is not working for the entire Region is a big step forward.”  - Chairwoman Carol Evans, Spokane Tribe of Indians

“As Shoshone and Bannock peoples of Idaho, we have co-existed within an ecological system from time immemorial. Our traditional culture is based on the fish and wildlife that provide subsistence for our people. We fully support this wide-ranging initiative that would substantially help salmon recovery in Idaho.”  - Chairman Devon Boyer, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation

“For the past five decades, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have been working to restore the Snake River and our salmon runs. With the dams in place, we have experienced impacts to our culture, spirituality, and our way of life; we need to change the system in order for salmon and our people (Newe) to survive.”  - Claudeo Broncho, Fish and Wildlife Policy Representative, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation

“It’s a serious plan at a unique time and it deserves to be vetted and heard."  - Kurt Miller, Northwest River Partners

“We want to be thoughtful about and not retrench into traditional positions but give it a fair shot and at the same time approach it with a critical eye -- one that makes sure the questions get answered.”  - Kurt Miller, Northwest RiverPartners

"We respect Congressman Simpson, and appreciate his interest in salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin. BPA looks forward to more conversations about this concept, and the region's environmental and economic future." - John Hairston, Bonneville Power Administration

“We’ve spent decades making minor improvements and adjustments that simply haven’t worked, and what we really need is serious funding and a major overhaul.” - Liz Hamilton, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

“I think we need to look at it with an open mind. We need to look and examine all pieces of that before we say ‘Oh, it’s impossible’ or ‘Absolutely not.’ ” - Scott Corbitt, Valley Vision

“I remain optimistic that through open dialogue, curiosity and a focus on ends versus means, we can find a path forward that includes the interests and needs of the power sector, as well as those of numerous other groups and communities,”  - Debra Smith, Seattle City Light

“We are going to have to get a lot more information about what this entails all the way from replacement of the power to transmission services to fish and wildlife costs going forward,”  - K. David Hagen, Clearwater Power

“This is the first meaningful approach any elected official has made public that recognizes the only way to recover Idaho’s salmon and steelhead to meaningful abundance is to untangle the gargantuan and crippling bureaucratic knot that is now also failing ratepayers and taxpayers. The scope of this proposal will be a massive and decades long - possibly perpetual - shot in the arm for the economies of North Idaho, and Eastern Washington and Oregon.”  - Brian Brooks, Idaho Wildlife Federation

“Congressman Mike Simpson’s new Columbia Basin Fund opens the door to a long-awaited and necessary set of solutions to Idaho’s salmon and steelhead crisis. The framework set forth in the plan outlines a path to forestall the extinction of Idaho’s salmon while also ensuring that important industries and communities that depend on the current Snake River System have the means and support to adapt and thrive.” - Aaron Lieberman, Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association

“There are those who talk and those who lead. We applaud Congressman Simpson for his bold leadership to mobilize support in Congress for a comprehensive and lasting plan that would make significant investments in the Northwest economy while recovering the salmon and steelhead that define the region."
- Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited

"What he's proposing is so much bigger than dams. It's about the region. It's about working together to break out of the status quo, which has kept the region in conflict." - Justin Hayes of the Idaho Conservation League

 

 

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