Wheat growers welcome balanced environmental impact statement; debate on the value of the lower Snake River Dams settled

The much-anticipated Columbia River System Operations Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) was released late last week. It was developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the US Bureau of Reclamation, with input from tribal nations and Northwest states, and provides a comprehensive, final analysis of the four lower Snake River dams. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) welcomes the report and feels it balances the needs of farmers, salmon, power supply, and social welfare in the Pacific Northwest.

“For decades, the benefits of the Columbia-Snake River System have contributed to thriving communities in the Pacific Northwest. The system’s hydroelectric dams and locks provide us with clean affordable energy for our homes and businesses; irrigation water for agriculture; and navigable waterways in order to transport our commodities to the rest of the world. We applaud the federal agencies for their balanced findings. It is time to put the debate to rest and move forward with continued improvements – fish and dams can co-exist,” stated WAWG President and Hartline, WA wheat grower Ryan Poe.

WAWG Executive Director Michelle Hennings added, “Our Congressional delegation has played an instrumental role in advocating for improvements needed on the federally owned and operated dams. They called for a science-based approach through this entire process, and we are pleased with the agency findings.”

Regional wheat producers rely on a complex system of rivers, rail, and highways to transport their product. Of the nearly 153 million bushels of wheat produced in Washington, about 60% of it is transported via the Columbia-Snake River System. Barging is proven to be the most efficient and least carbon-intensive mode of cargo transportation available. WAWG supports the balanced findings in the FEIS and calls for an end to efforts to remove the lower Snake River Dams.