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Risch Fights Dam Breaching

December 13, 2022

Prevents Democrats' attempt to breach lower Snake River Dams

WASHINGTON – Due to strong and direct opposition by U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Democrats' attempts to breach the lower Snake River dams were removed from the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). WRDA will reinforce western water resilience and ensure the Army Corps of Engineers carries out water projects responsibly.

“The Water Resources Development Act should strengthen our water infrastructure, not dismantle it. Removal of the Snake River dams would inflict an unthinkable cost on the Northwest, all while worsening sky-high energy prices and inflation,” said Risch. “I fought to remove language aimed at dam breaching from WRDA and remain flatly opposed to removal of the lower Snake River dams.”

Background: The four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River provide multiple benefits to Idaho and the region, including flood risk management, economic stimulus, crop irrigation, and clean hydropower.

The first draft of the Senate WRDA bill released in May 2022 contained language inserted by Senate Democrats to study breaching the four lower Snake River dams. Senator Risch blocked the bill from proceeding in the Senate until he secured language protecting the dams. As the Senate and House conferenced their respective WRDA bills, he worked with negotiators to remove all Snake River dam language.

Following a four-year comprehensive scientific study of the Columbia River System Operations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration realeased a record of decision in September 2020 affirming the four dams’ critical importance to the region.

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