Leaked Snake River Memo Springs Irrigation Concerns

A leaked memo outlining mediation options for Lower Snake River dams has agriculture sounding alarm bells, especially those who rely on the river to irrigate. The solutions seek to improve fish population and reverse effects of hydroelectric power generation.

However, Irrigation Today reports the solutions would decrease the energy availability and the water resource infrastructure dependent on the system’s current framework. Nathan Bowen of the Irrigation Association says, “The proposed changes to the river system, particularly the breaching of dams, would have a dramatic impact on irrigated agriculture in the region.”

A letter from Pacific Northwest lawmakers regarding the leaked memo states, “Due to the document’s use of vague and imprecise language, it appears susceptible to misinterpretation.” The lawmakers expressed concerns with the outlined solutions in the memo, which includes language from the federal government stating that the solutions outlined in the memo must “be the path forward.”

The concerns are not new, with legal battles pertaining to the system spanning decades.