January 6, 2020
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No consensus on removal of Snake River Dams

A new report has identified some of the big divides over whether to keep or remove the four Lower Snake River Dams.

Last spring, the Legislature appropriated $750,000 to study the dams. The report released in late December included interviews from more than 100 people and groups, The Associated Press reported.

The bottom line is "there is no clear consensus in the state on whether the giant structures should be removed or retained," the news agency reported.

Dam critics say their removal is necessary to allow salmon, and the orca killer whales that feed on them, to thrive.

But supporters highlight the dams' role as crucial infrastructure to provide clean power, transport crops to market and irrigate more than 47,000 acres of farmland.

"Salmon, orca, agriculture and energy are fundamental to Washington's past and future," the report said, noting the four dams have touched on all these issues.

The dams create winners and losers, according to the report.

Dam supporters feel the "coast" is telling eastern Washington communities what to do in a way that lacks respect, the report said.

"More information is needed to create opportunities for greater understanding,″ the report said.

The four dams are Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite, and they are located on the Snake River between the Tri-Cities and Idaho.

They generate enough power to supply the city of Seattle for a year, the report noted, and allow barges to navigate from Idaho and eventually to the Pacific.

For more information, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Peter Godlewski at PeterG@awb.org or 360.943.1600.

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Forward into Space Investment

Federal space push is an opportunity for Washington

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

The new federal Space Force received just $40 million in the $738 billion defense budget that Congress recently approved.

That amount is as comical as the name Space Force, which sounds like something from a low-budget sci-fi movie.

But that belies serious effort and spending the federal government is now devoting to space activities. Snickering aside, this should renew Washington state efforts to be sure its universities, workers and growing cluster of space companies play substantial roles in these national investments.

As the nation increases space investment, legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee should nurture and grow space research, development and manufacturing in Washington, building on its historical leadership in aerospace and software.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times