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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Remove dams, help communities

By Shiva Rajbhandari, Boise, Idaho
Published: December 7, 2021, 6:00am

The stay in litigation reached in Portland in October indicates that Gov. Kate Brown, the Biden administration and Northwest tribes are willing to come to the table. With the support of Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray we have a real opportunity to take decisive action to save wild salmon and steelhead.

For Idahoans, who have long felt the burden of Washington’s four lower Snake River dams, it is exciting that they may finally come out, and our keystone salmon, the lifeblood of our rivers, may finally be restored. However, Inslee and Murray should not start from scratch. After two years of meetings with hundreds of stakeholders, Idaho’s Rep. Mike Simpson has already put forward a science-based plan supported by conservation groups, tribal governments and politicians across the region.

We don’t need another study or long process that only runs down the clock toward extinction. The science is clear: we must breach the dams within the next 10 years or wild salmon and the 137 animals which depend on them, thousands of years of tribal culture, will all be lost.

I urge readers to call Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray and hold them accountable for a plan to expeditiously breach the lower Snake River dams and make communities across the Northwest whole.

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