Columbia-Snake River Assoc. asks Mattis to help protect dam syst - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia-Snake River Assoc. asks Mattis to help protect dam system

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TRI-CITIES, WA - On February 26, Secretary of Defense James Mattis made an appearance at an award ceremony in the Tri-Cities. In an open letter, the Columbia-Snake River Association asks the Secretary of Defense for help in protecting the Columbia-Snake dam system.

In the letter, the CSRIA says that the Endangered Species Act has encouraged 25 years of legal action. The Board of Directors thinks Secretary Mattis can help protect the hydropower system from further legal actions.

"We've been involved in this litigation for 25 years, and the the Power Administration has spent about $17 billion on the Fish and Wildlife Program, much of which is CSA litigation," said Dr. Darryll Olsen, a board representative with the Columbia-Snake River Association. "It's time to bring it to an end."

Last week, Washington State Senator Patty Murray made headlines for opposing a legislation that would prevent the breaching of four dams on the Snake River that could restore endangered salmon runs. However, Murray and two democratic House members are pushing an environmental study to find alternatives for salmon recovery.

Fish advocates blame the four dams with decimating salmon runs, but supporters say that the hydropower and navigation provided by the dams helps restore runs.