Rep. Newhouse’s DAMN Act: Navigating the Snake River Dam debates

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the DAMN Act to address debates over management of the Lower Snake River Dams.

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse has proposed the Defending Against Manipulative Negotiators Act, or DAMN Act, in response to ongoing discussions about the future of the Lower Snake River Dams. The legislation aims to prevent the use of federal funds for potential dam breaching and alteration, reflecting concerns raised by various stakeholders.

The Snake River originates in Wyoming and arcs across southern Idaho before turning north along the Idaho-Oregon border. The river then enters Washington and flows west to the Columbia River. The Snake River is the principal tributary to the Columbia River, draining approximately 107,000 square miles in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.

Newhouse highlighted the exclusion of certain important stakeholders from closed-door meetings discussing dam breaching. He expressed concern that these discussions may have been predisposed towards the option of breaching the four lower Snake dams, emphasizing the need for inclusive dialogue to explore all perspectives.

While acknowledging the importance of prioritizing solutions benefiting both salmon populations and the continued benefits of the dams, Newhouse underscored the complexities of the issue. He stressed the necessity of considering a range of factors, including environmental impacts, economic implications, and regional interests, in any decision-making process regarding the dams.

Newhouse also referenced repeated mentions of dam breaching in recent government documents, indicating ongoing consideration of various options. This suggests the need for thorough evaluation and careful deliberation before any definitive actions are taken regarding the dams.

The DAMN Act represents Newhouse’s effort to ensure that all voices are heard and all factors are considered in the debate surrounding the Lower Snake River Dams. By proposing legislation aimed at preserving federal funds for alternatives to dam breaching, he aims to foster a more comprehensive and balanced discussion on the issue.

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