Congressman Mike Simpson announces groundbreaking framework to restore Northwest salmon, bolster economy

February 7, 2021

February 7, 2021 
Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145 

Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) today announced a bold and potentially transformational proposal to revitalize the rivers and economy of the Pacific Northwest. The $33.5 billion package of immediate infrastructure investments would advance salmon recovery, clean energy, agriculture and create jobs and economic opportunity regionwide.  

Key river investments include restoring the lower Snake River in southeast Washington through the removal of four federal dams, water quality improvements in the Columbia Basin, Puget Sound, and Washington and Oregon coasts, restoration of salmon in currently blocked areas in the upper Columbia and upper Snake rivers, funding for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, incentives to remove select fish-blocking dams in the Columbia Basin, and increasing tourism and recreation opportunities. The proposed framework also includes wide-ranging restrictions on the application of federal environmental laws and extensions of licenses for hydropower dams. 

Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“We applaud the fresh thinking and comprehensive nature of Congressman Simpson’s framework. His inclusive and groundbreaking effort is a starting point toward a solution to recover salmon, modernize infrastructure, create jobs and strengthen communities regionwide. We’ve seen how investing in smart infrastructure and healthy rivers can revitalize local economies, and we believe that by working together, we can achieve a future of abundance and prosperity in the Pacific Northwest.”  

“A well-crafted, comprehensive solution would benefit the nation as a whole by restoring salmon runs, bolstering clean energy and strengthening the economy of one of the most dynamic regions in the country.” 

“This framework contains a variety of benefits for the Northwest, including the restoration of the lower Snake River, which would be the largest river restoration effort in history. There are also elements that are cause for concern and require more conversation. American Rivers is committed to working with Congressman Simpson and Northwest leaders to make this package as positive as it can be for our rivers and communities.” 

“If we’re going to move forward, we must work together to solve each other’s problems and address interconnected challenges. We must ensure a future of healthy rivers and abundant salmon, a prosperous agricultural sector, affordable clean energy and a strong economy, and we must uphold treaties and responsibilities with Northwest tribes.” 

“Northwest leaders have a strong track record of crafting innovative, bipartisan solutions to challenging water and river issues. Now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in what makes the Northwest strong. Congressman Simpson’s proposal builds on this legacy and gives us a great place to start.”