Formal public discussion about possible dam breaching begins again this Fall


Formal public discussion of possibly removing the 4 Lower Snake River Dams will officially begin once again this Fall.  Federal managers of the Columbia Basin hydro-electric system have been ordered by new Portland Federal Judge Michael Simon to re-write what’s called the biological opinion.  In May Simon tossed out the document that balances dam operations with salmon recovery.  It marked the 5th time that a federal judge invalidated the plan citing it’s noncompliance with the Environmental Protection Act.  The latest plan thrown out was from the Obama administration.  Simon ordered that the feds examine breaching the Lower Snake River Dams.  Federal managers expect the entire re-crafting of the biological opinion to take 5 years and to begin they are seeking public comment on what they should look at.  The initial comment period regarding the scope of the document is now underway and will continue through January 17th.  The managers will be hosting several public comment hearings around the Northwest with the closest being in Lewiston on November 16th.  A similar formal look at dam breaching with public comment occurred in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.