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Thursday, June 13, 2024

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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

White House Engages NW on Dams, Future of Salmon

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Monday, June 12, 2023   

The Biden Administration is considering the future of Pacific Northwest salmon and the effect of dams in the region.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality held listening sessions this spring and is now asking for public comments on dams in the Columbia River basin.

They're especially focused on four dams on the lower Snake River that have been major barriers to the dwindling salmon populations that migrate upstream to Idaho.

Mitch Cutter is the salmon and steelhead associate with the Idaho Conservation League.

"What we've seen so far in both the listening session and in the public comments," said Cutter, "is an overwhelming majority of people saying they want to breach the lower Snake River dams - because it's essential for salmon and steelhead, and because there's other ways of doing the things that the dams provide."

Supporters of keeping the dams say they provide essential energy, irrigation and barging functions. But Cutter noted that during listening sessions, more than three-quarters of commenters were in favor of breaching the dams.

The Council on Environmental Quality public comment period is open through August 31.

Cutter said there is interest in removing the dams from a variety of people in the Northwest.

"We're seeing people from across the region," said Cutter, "come out of the woodwork and say, 'This issue matters to me, even if it didn't two, three, five, ten years ago. We'd like to have this problem solved.'"

During this year's legislative session, Washington state lawmakers approved $7.5 million for planning to replace the dam's services. The four Snake River dams are in southeast Washington.



Disclosure: Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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