BY ANNETTE CARY
APRIL 14, 2019 11:48 AM, UPDATED APRIL 14, 2019 12:10 PM
Criticism of speeding up a study looking at removing the Lower Snake River dams smells like an attempt to undermine the study’s validity, says Tri-Cities Congressman Dan Newhouse.
In October 2018 President Trump required that a new environmental study on management of the Columbia and Snake rivers hydro system be completed a year sooner than previously planned.
The study now is scheduled to be completed in September 2020, before Trump’s current term of office ends. A decision on how to best operate the hydro system is expected to be made based on the study .
Trump ordered the shortened schedule as part of an initiative to streamline regulatory processes for water projects in the West.
In 2016, a federal judge in Portland overturned a 2014 management plan for the dams, finding it did too little to protect salmon runs, and ordered a new management plan, called a biological opinion, or BiOp, be adopted by September 2021.
The environmental study being done for the new BiOp includes the option of tearing down Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams in Eastern Washington.