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White House says it’s neutral on Snake River dam mediation

White House says it’s neutral on Snake River dam mediation

The Biden administration says it has not taken a position on whether it will recommend that Congress authorize breaching the four lower Snake River dams.

The administration is working with tribes, states and stakeholders in the region to develop a “long-term, durable plan” for the Columbia River System, said Alyssa Roberts, communications director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

“We are committed to working together to bring healthy and abundant salmon runs back to the Columbia River System and honoring federal commitments to tribal nations while supporting local and regional economies — including critically important agricultural production and transportation,” Roberts told the Capital Press. “This includes attempting to mediate long-running litigation with the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.”

The mediation will end Aug. 31.

Agricultural stakeholders have criticized the process as “skewed” and “predetermined” in favor of dam breaching.

Heather Stebbings, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, recently told the Capital Press she did not feel all stakeholders have been given the same consideration.

“We really wanted this mediation to focus more on the things we can all agree on for the fish, rather than myopically focus on breaching the Snake River dams,” Stebbings said in May.

“We know for any good outcome to come from mediation, you have to have all sides equally represented,” said Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “Right now, it definitely seems to be heading down a very skewed path that does not fully represent the negative impacts if this dam breaching is allowed to continue.”

Read the complete article here.

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