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Environment

Idaho And Oregon Draw Up A Blueprint For Snake River Dam Alliance

To aid salmon recovery, some people have proposed the Lower Granite Dam & hydroelectric plant on the Snake River be removed.
To aid salmon recovery, some people have proposed the Lower Granite Dam & hydroelectric plant on the Snake River be removed.

Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson and Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer shared some common ground Tuesday night on the blueprint to form a new frontier for the Columbia Basin region. But the process has a long way to go.

The ongoing effects of the climate crisis were not lost on the two lawmakers as they considered the basin’s future. Simpson says stakeholders in the region must work together, as change spurred by a warming planet is inevitable.

“It's coming and we ought to be prepared for it,” Simpson said. “That's why we have to have this discussion now.”

Blumenauer agreed. He said he wants to pivot away from the usage of the Lower Snake River Dams and find sustainable solutions.

“I think there are common interests for the people that we represent,” Blumenauer said. “I think that we have an opportunity to continue this conversation.”

Simpson and Blumenauer said they know breaching the four dams will affect industries like agriculture and energy. So they are entertaining ways to grow other sectors, such as developing railway infrastructure and nuclear power.

The conversation Tuesday night represented one of many steps in what is likely a decade-long project.

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