WGC statement on dam study

Path forward requires a wider, holistic approach

SPOKANE, Wash.—On June 6, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released the draft report of their study on breaching the lower Snake River dams. The Washington Grain Commission (WGC), along with fellow agricultural groups, utilities and others expressed serious concerns about the Murray/Inslee report, which left out or significantly undervalued costs and even acknowledged that many costs are not available.

“If the option to ship on the river goes away, we will lose a vital competition component for commodity transportation across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It’s not just the shippers who stand to lose out on handing rail that kind of business advantage. Costs will go up for everyone.” Mike Carstensen said. Carstensen is a dryland wheat farmer from Almira, Washington, and the current chairman for the WGC’s board of commissioners.

“We are concerned this study lacked the time, resources and validity needed to provide science-based, NEPA-compliant results that can be relied upon to properly address breaching dams or eliminating the many Congressionally authorized uses of a system so integral to our region and the nation,” WGC CEO Glen Squires said. “It is unfortunate that breaching four dams on the Lower Snake River that have effective fish passage continue to be the focal point of the Columbia Basin-wide and even Westcoast-wide salmon issue. The path forward requires a wider, holistic approach.”

The WGC and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) continue to work together in support of the entire transportation system, and especially the essential services provided by the lower Snake River dams on which the agriculture industry and others depend.

The WGC will submit comments on the report as part of the public feedback window that is open through July 11. All public comments are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 11, and must be submitted through www.lsrdoptions.org/report-comments/.

A copy of the report can be found here.


Contacts: Glen Squires, CEO, Washington Grain Commission
(509) 456-2481 ext. 207 / gsquires@wagrains.org

Lori Maricle, Communications Director, Washington Grain Commission
(509) 456-2481 Ext. 208 / lmaricle@wagrains.org

About the Washington Grain Commission was created in 1958 by the Washington State Department of Agriculture with the support of Eastern Washington farmers. Barley came under the auspices of the organization in 2009. Our mission is to enhance the long-term profitability and competitiveness of Washington small grains and small grain producers through research, marketing and education. The current commission board is made up of seven farmer members, two industry representatives and a representative of the state’s Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit https://wagrains.org

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