Home Politics Biden-Harris Administration’s Historic Pact Aims to Restore Wild Salmon and Bolster Clean Energy in the Pacific Northwest

Biden-Harris Administration’s Historic Pact Aims to Restore Wild Salmon and Bolster Clean Energy in the Pacific Northwest

by Terra
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The Biden-Harris Administration unveiled a groundbreaking agreement today, forging a partnership with Tribes and States in the Pacific Northwest, in a historic step toward environmental conservation and collaboration with Indigenous communities. The agreement focuses on reviving wild salmon populations, advancing Tribally sponsored clean energy production, and ensuring stability for communities reliant on the Columbia River System.

Restoring Nature, Empowering Communities: A $1 Billion Investment

President Biden’s commitment to honoring obligations to Tribal Nations takes center stage in this unprecedented agreement. Over two years of regional engagement culminated in a directive from President Biden in September, instructing Federal agencies to prioritize the restoration of salmon, steelhead, and native fish populations in the Columbia River Basin. The current agreement, coupled with anticipated additional funding, signifies an impressive $1 billion in new Federal investments for wild fish restoration over the next decade.

The pact also lays the foundation for the development of at least one to three gigawatts of Tribally sponsored clean energy production, aligning with the administration’s broader clean energy goals.

Charting a New Course: A Decade of Collaboration and Break from Litigation

Under President Biden’s leadership, the Federal government is steering a collaborative approach, working hand in hand with States and Tribal Nations to restore wild salmon and other native fish in the Columbia River Basin. Simultaneously, the administration is committed to safeguarding and strengthening sustainable energy and water resources. A standout feature of this agreement is the unprecedented 10-year break from prolonged litigation against the Federal government’s operation of dams in the Pacific Northwest.

Key Commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration Include:

  1. New Funding for Fish and Wildlife: The Bonneville Power Administration, under the Department of Energy, will invest $300 million over a decade to restore native fish and habitats. This includes $100 million for four Lower River Treaty Tribes, Washington, and Oregon for fish restoration projects, and $200 million for hatchery modernization, upgrades, and maintenance.
  2. Tribally Sponsored Clean Energy: The Department of Energy commits to supporting the development of one to three gigawatts of Tribally sponsored clean energy projects.
  3. Increased Flexibility: Adjustments to Federal hydrosystem operations will ensure a net benefit for some fish, uphold grid reliability, and meet health and safety requirements, providing 10 years of predictable operations.
  4. Studies of Dam Services: The Administration will conduct or fund studies exploring how services provided by the four Lower Snake River dams (transportation, irrigation, and recreation) could be replaced, offering valuable insights for potential dam breach considerations.

Preserving Cultural and Ecological Heritage

Wild salmon, steelhead, and native fish populations in the Columbia River Basin hold immense cultural, economic, and ecological significance for Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples. Climate change and human activities have taken a toll on these populations, with several species listed as threatened or endangered. This agreement builds on the Administration’s commitment earlier this year to support Tribally led efforts to revive salmon populations in the Upper Columbia River Basin.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s collaborative approach and substantial financial commitments underscore a dedication to environmental stewardship, recognizing the interconnectedness of ecological health and community well-being in the Pacific Northwest.


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