Salmon resolution passes House, worries conservationalists in Idaho

Salmon resolution passes in the House
Posted at 5:05 PM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-28 17:02:48-04

House Resolution 1344 would effectively roll back a federal ruling by a judge in 2016 that protects salmon migration by requiring dams to provide spillways in an effort to make it easier for salmon to make it back to Idaho to spawn.

The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington in 2017, in December Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador became a co-sponsor however, Labrador didn't cast a vote in this weeks vote.

While the spillways help the salmon, that water that doesn't go through the dam can't be turned into hydroelectric power.

This bill would allow Congress to take back the power to regulate dams, the bill still has to pass through the Senate.

Greg Stahl of Idaho Rivers United said the bill would erase years of work to help protect the endangered and threatened salmon who have to swim 900 miles while climbing 7,000 feet of elevation to reach their spawning grounds in Idaho.

Stahl said that the dams, specifically the four dams located on the lower Snake River make it hard for the salmon.

"They are taking a toll on Idaho's salmon," said Stahl. "In lieu of dam removal you can send more water over the dams as opposed to through the dams to help boost salmon survival, it's like a stop-gap measure."