SOS has focused a lot of its limited resources in the Washington State legislature so far in 2019 - so we were elated to learn that the Senate has included full funding ($750K) in its version of the state budget for a lower Snake River stakeholder forum. Our work, however, is far from over. We need your help!
Background: After months of hard work with Governor Inslee’s Orca Task Force, we were gratified by its support for convening a forum in 2019 to bring together key stakeholders to detail the types of community investments (e.g. irrigation, energy, transportation…) that would be needed if/when the lower Snake River dams are removed. Gov. Inslee then included funding for the forum in his proposed budget in December. And now, thanks to our hard work, more than 43 state legislators today also support bringing people together to talk directly about options and opportunities for the lower Snake and its dams and salmon. SOS and its allies have been showing up and speaking up at the capitol: we testified in a House hearing a week ago and before Senate Ways and Means Committee last night – We're calling on legislators to include this low-cost, high-impact, much-needed funding in the state’s final budget. But we have a fight on our hands: The House and Senate must reconcile their different budget versions before the state budget can be approved. Our well-financed opponents are pulling out all the stops to block this funding and prevent people from talking to each other.
We need your help! If you live in Washington State: call and write your State Senator and two State Representatives. Ask them to actively support the very modest funding to convene lower Snake River stakeholder talks to bring people together to discuss and develop shared solutions for communities, salmon and orcas.
If you live outside Washington State: Call and write Governor Inslee. Thank him for his leadership to help critically endangered Southern Resident orcas and support lower Snake River stakeholder discussions, and ask him to fight hard to ensure they are fully funded in this year’s state budget.
Washington State residents, of course, can and should contact Governor Inslee too. Thank him for his leadership. Ask him to ensure that the funding stakeholder talks be included in the final state budget.
1. Chinook salmon populations continue to decline and Southern Resident orca are starving.
2. Scientists tell us that rebuilding robust chinook salmon populations in the Columbia-Snake River Basin is critical to protecting orca from extinction.
3. Support the very modest funding to convene lower Snake River stakeholder talks to bring people together to discuss and develop shared solutions for communities, salmon, and orca.
This battle over funding to bring people together to begin talks about solutions for the Snake River and its endangered salmon will be won or lost in the next 30 days. Contact your legislators and/or Governor Inslee today!
Share this message with your friends and family; you can all identify and connect your senator's office by calling the Washington State Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000 or visiting https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/.
Follow these links for further information on our activities in the legislature:
-- NGO letter to State Legislators calling to funding for stakeholder forum and spill.
-- Letter signed by 43 legislators supporting funding the forum and spill.
-- SOS factsheet about stakeholder talks and why they are important.