For Immediate Release
November 24, 2014
Conservation groups and Nez Perce Tribe seek to stop ill-advised dredging on lower Snake River
Moscow—Today Friends of the Clearwater joined with the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Rivers United, Washington Wildlife Federation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and Institute for Fisheries Resources by filing a challenge in Federal District Court in Seattle to the government’s plan to spend millions of taxpayer dollars dredging the lower Snake River and a section of the Clearwater River near its confluence with the Snake.
“This boondoggle is yet another example of how more and more tax dollars are spent to prop up the four outdated dams on the lower Snake River,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “Little or no thought has been given to the long-term economic and environmental consequences of the ongoing dredging approach.
These dams were built to make Lewiston, Idaho an inland seaport. They have devastated salmon and steelhead populations in the Clearwater and elsewhere in Idaho while proving to be an economic black hole. The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has consistently overestimated benefits and underestimated costs for these dams, including dredging costs.
Specific claims in the lawsuit include violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. In p articular, the complaint notes flaws in the economic and environmental analyses.
Macfarlane concluded by noting, “The project is a loser. The economic justifications do not hold water. It is a bad deal for taxpayers and for anadromous fish and other aquatic life. It is time for a reality check for the lower Snake River dam project.”
Friends of the Clearwater, Idaho Rivers United, Washington Wildlife Federation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and Institute for Fisheries Resources are represented by Earthjustice, an environmental law firm that has represented conservation interests challenging the status quo on the lower Snake River for more than a decade.
Read Ten Reasons the Lower Snake River Dams Will Be Breached