U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson proposes removal of the four Lower Snake River dams

The removal is an effort to restore Chinook salmon in Idaho
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 8:45 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) spoke with Twin Falls County Commissioners on Monday about his plan to remove the four Lower Snake River dams to restore Chinook salmon in Idaho.

“If we don’t do something to restore these salmon, and the last option left is removing these dams, these fish will go extinct,” says Rep. Simpson. “That would be a loss for Idaho, a huge loss for Idaho, an economic loss for Idaho as well as an environmental loss for Idaho.”

The Northwest Infrastructure Proposal, which would cost upward of $30 billion, claims to replace the energy produced by the dams with other clean, cheap options, improve water quality as well as give the diminishing salmon population hope for survival.

Other in Twin Falls County, like Steve Millington from the Twin Falls County Republican Central Committee, aren’t so convinced.

“Salmon runs along the entire west coast of the United States, from Baja, California, clear to Alaska are diminishing every year,” says Millington. “The question is, why are they diminishing? They do not have dams on all those rivers.”

Representative Simpson’s proposal is even causing concern for conservation groups dedicated to restoring the salmon population due to certain literature in the proposal that would halt any litigation concerning dams along the Snake River for at least 35 years.

“We both agree that we have to compensate those that will be harmed during this process, because people will be harmed, says Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director of the Wild Fish Conservancy. “Where we start to disagree is on removing environmental protections. The Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act are so critical to the recovery of these species.”

Rep. Simpson has yet to take this proposal to the table as legislation, but believes he has exhausted all other options for saving Idaho’s salmon population.

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