Newhouse Leads Legislative Package Protecting The Lower Snake River Dams

Published online: Jun 05, 2024 Articles
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Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and his colleagues introduced a package of nine bills to protect the four Lower Snake River Dams following the release of the final package of actions and commitments in the Columbia River System Operations (CRSO) mediation which undermines dam operations.

“I have consistently reminded the Biden Administration that the authority over the Lower Snake River Dams remains in the hands of Congress,” said Congressman Dan Newhouse.

“This package is not only a staunch reinforcement of that fact, but a testament to our commitment to protect these critical pieces of infrastructure.”

The package contains nine bills aimed at reversing specific provisions in the final package of actions and commitments in the CRSO mediation. They are cosponsored by multiple members from the Pacific Northwest and supported by a variety of organizations with stakes in the Columbia River System.

The bills are as follows:

The Abandoning Inconsistent and Rash Environmental Solutions (ACRES) Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Ryan Zinke (MT-01), and Matt Rosendale (MT-02).

Supporting organizations: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: Prohibits the breaching of federally operated dams if such breach would result in the replacement energy resource occupying additional acreage of more than 5 percent.

Bill text here.

The Breaking Irresponsible Energy and Commercial Habits (BREACH) Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Ryan Zinke (MT-01), and Matt Rosendale (MT-02).

Supporting organizations: Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: Prohibits the breaching of federally operated dams if such a breach would result in an increase in carbon emission by more than 10 percent, would make the body of water impacted by the breach less navigable for commercial interests, and would result in an increase of at least 10 percent of the price of products shipped via the body of water.

Bill text here.

The Ratepayer Funding Alternative Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).

Supporting organizations: Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: Directs DOE to develop fish and wildlife program funding alternatives to mitigate the cost to BPA ratepayers and report to Congress within 6 months of enactment on what alternative funding options are available.

Bill text here.

The Pinniped Predator Deterrence Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).

Supporting organizations: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: Requires and authorizes USACE to acquire technology that uses acoustic sound technology to deter pinniped predators above and below the Bonneville Dam.

Bill text here.

The ELECTRIC Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Matt Rosendale (MT-02)

Supporting organizations: Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: Prohibits DOI and USACE from retiring an energy generation source if that retirement would raise customer electricity rates and decrease regional energy reliability by more than 10 percent.

Bill text here.

The QUERIES Act

Cosponsors: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).

Supporting organizations: Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: To direct the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress an updated report on the roles, responsibilities, and practices of the Council on Environmental Quality.

Bill text here.

To prohibit the Secretary of the Army from carrying out certain spillage operations on the Lower Snake Rivers dams, and for other purposes

Cosponsors: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Russ Fulcher (ID-01) and Cliff Bentz (OR-02).

Supporting organizations: Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Summary: The Secretary may not carry out any spillage operations on any of the Lower Snake River 7 dams unless such operations are approved by the Secretary and the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration.

Bill text here.

Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that hydropower is a vital component to an all-of-the-above approach to energy development which is critical to U.S. national security

Cosponsors: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), and Ryan Zinke (MT-01).

Supporting organizations: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Resolution text here.

Resolution expressing disapproval of the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative entered into by the Biden Administration

Cosponsors: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Ryan Zinke (MT-01), and Matt Rosendale (MT-02).

Supporting organizations: Cowlitz PUD, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Port of Benton, and Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.

Resolution text here.