As the salmon numbers plummet and orcas starve, weak political will
remains the status quo. Four obsolete dams on the lower Snake River kill
hundreds of salmon per every megawatt of hydropower produced. These
fish killing dams never were an environmentally friendly decision, and
with renewable resources on the rise are no longer economically sound.
Breaching these dams will not only save salmon and orca, but millions of
taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.
You will also hear the story of
a Palouse tribal elder from eastern Washington who courageously refuses
to let the injustice of constructing the dams go untold. Carrie Chapman
Nightwalker Schuster’s family home was drowned by the construction of
Ice Harbor Dam, completed in 1961. Since her childhood she has fought
valiantly to maintain and restore Palouse culture, language, and land,
some of which lies under the reservoir behind Ice Harbor Dam. Carrie
gives the vision of steadfast grit to all who take up the mission to
“Free the Snake.”
OCA members delivered our own letter to Kilmer and described the promise offered by the Green New Deal to remake the Lower Snake River watershed into a showcase for clean energy, green jobs, restorative agriculture, recreation, and carbon sequestration, rather than a cesspool for salmon mortality and methane production.
Then, the new Sunrise Movement Olympic Peninsula hub hosted a meeting at Kilmer’s office to express concern that our Representative has had several months to ponder what Congress should be doing to solve the climate crisis, and has yet to speak or act. Time to step up!
Both groups asked to meet with Kilmer next time he’s home.
At the direction of our membership at our February 3 meeting, OCA sent letters to Governor Inslee, our District 24 State Representatives, and Rep. Derek Kilmer about both the necessity and feasibility of breaching the lower 4 Snake River Dams this year. Nothing would prevent this from happening if we recognized the true dire straits our Southern Resident Orcas are in, and none of the recommendations of the Governor’s Orca Task Force would have as immediate and beneficial an impact as this one thing. Here’s the letter we sent to Gov. Inslee: OCA to Inslee 2-15-19
And here’s a letter being hand-delivered by our friends at the North Olympic Orca Pod to Rep. Derek Kilmer on Feb. 27: NOOP to Kilmer 2-27-19