Snake River Dams: Biden officials look to reassure lawmakers

By Jennifer Yachnin | 04/18/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation officials testified Wednesday on a plan for several contentious dams.

Camille Touton.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton testifying Wednesday. House Appropriations Committee/YouTube

Top Interior Department officials pledged to visit the Lower Snake River in Washington state as the White House weighs whether four dams could be removed to bolster the region’s endangered salmon and steelhead.

Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse (R) pressed the issue during a Wednesday hearing of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee on fiscal 2025 budget requests for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Newhouse secured commitments from both Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton and Michael Brain, principal deputy assistant Interior secretary for water and science, to visit the region as the administration moves ahead with its Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative.


“Since dam breaching is being considered, what if any outreach has BOR done with these stakeholders to help them understand the impact of dam removal and what [impact] it would have on Washingtonians?” Newhouse asked, as he focused on concerns about hydropower production as well as water quality and threats to salmon health.