WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new jobs and infrastructure framework from U.S. Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) provides a good starting point for discussions on how to best support Northwest jobs, invest in clean energy and local economies, and recover endangered salmon and steelhead.
“Healthy populations of wild salmon and steelhead are essential for Northwest Tribes, local economies, and the region’s way of life — and they’re running out of time. Congressman Mike Simpson has put forward a comprehensive, visionary framework that would not only restore Northwest salmon, but modernize essential energy and infrastructure in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, diversify local economies and strengthen communities — all of which will create tens of thousands of good jobs,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Rep. Simpson’s innovative framework is a strong starting point for bipartisan discussions in Congress and with the Biden Administration to forge a durable solution — and we look forward to working to transform this framework into a comprehensive, bipartisan bill.”
Over the past several decades local, state, and regional leaders have tried to solve this problem to no avail. This has left the region in an endless loop of litigation, division and economic insecurity.
"For 50 years we've tried everything we could within the current system to bring back our wild salmon and steelhead. It's the most expensive species recovery effort in world history — $17 billion spent — and yet we are still flirting with extinction,” said Brian Brooks, executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation.” Rep. Mike Simpson's plan recognizes that we need a system overhaul if we are serious about recovering our fish. An investment in fish-friendly power generation projects and commodity transport infrastructure to replace the lower four Snake River dams will not only recover Idaho's fish to ecologically, culturally and economically meaningful abundance, but it will stimulate the Northwest's rural economies for decades to come."
The time has come for Congress and the incoming Biden Administration to forward a comprehensive solution that finally puts salmon and Northwest communities on a stronger footing and poised to grow.
“The recreational angling community has been pressing for salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin for decades. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson answered our calls with a blueprint for the largest river and salmon restoration effort in history that also creates jobs and strengthens the energy and agriculture sectors,” said Chris Hager, executive director of Association of Northwest Steelheaders. "We applaud his dedication and look to our regional delegates to engage with Simpson’s proposal to bring urgent innovative solutions to this issue.”
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.