Over the last several weeks, Tahlequah/J35 and Scarlet/J50 have sent a message heard around the globe. They desperately are trying to survive. The world is watching you, and the state of Washington. I’ve watched the whales’ story of hunger and grief, with sorrow and a feeling of helplessness.
You have the power to be the leader who spearheads Orca recovery, cementing your legacy as a leader in both climate change and ecological restoration. The salmon need access to historic spawning and rearing habitats; the Orcas need access to salmon.
Please tell your Orca Recovery Task Force, the Army Corps of Engineers Chief Engineer Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite (1-202-761-0000 or 1-202-761-0001), and Brig. Gen Peter Helmlinger (503-808-5150), Commander of the Northwestern Division, that we need to breach the four lower Snake River dams. Now. No more paralysis by “study” or “caucus;” the past 30 years are littered with them.
The energy produced by the lower Snake River dams does NOT need to be replaced. All lower Snake River hydro production is surplus power, much of it sold for prices below the cost of production. BPA is on the edge of a financial cliff. It has raised its wholesale power price 30% in the last 10 years, with another 5% projected to result from the next rate case, and has blown through nearly its entire cash reserve of over $900 million. This is not sustainable, even for BPA.
The time for action is now.
Returning the lower Snake River to a free flowing river is the best chance for both salmon and Orca recovery. Neither can survive a continuation of the band-aid efforts that mark the past 30 years.
Do you want your legacy to be one where the Southern Resident orcas die?
Or do you want your legacy to be that of the leader who brought the Orcas back from the brink of extinction?
Thank you for your consideration.
The Southern Resident Orcas need food! @GovInslee, your legacy can be the leader who brought the Orcas back from the brink of extinction — or the one who let them die. It’s a clear choice: begin breaching the four lower Snake River Dams this year and return the lower Snake to a free flowing river.
Sample Facebook post on Governor Inslee’s page
I support returning the lower Snake River to a free flowing river by telling the Army Corps of Engineers to bulldoze through the earthen portion of the four lower Snake River Dams, starting in 2018, in order to help our Orcas recover from the brink of extinction by making salmon readily available! Chinook salmon need access to historic spawning and rearing habitats. The past 30 years of costly band-aid efforts and promises of recovery have failed both fish and Orcas. The time to act is now!
Sample Facebook post on your own profile
This summer, our Southern Resident Orcas told us of their story of hunger and grief. I watched with sorrow and a feeling of helplessness. But I’ve learned that it’s possible to return the lower Snake River to a free flowing river by bulldozing through the earthen portion of the four lower Snake River Dams starting in 2018, in order to help boost the supply of Chinook salmon.
Salmon need access to historic spawning and rearing habitats; the Orcas need access to salmon. Both are protected under the Endangered Species Acts in Canada and the United States, but the past 30 years of costly band-aid efforts have failed. I’ve asked Governor Inslee to take the lead in planning how to breach the four lower Snake River dams to save the Orcas. Won’t you do so as well?