Thousands start ad campaign to breach Snake River dams | Guest Column

Submitted by Jim Waddell,, and Ken Balcomb,

We, the undersigned, have prepared an ad campaign to run in the Seattle Times. We are informing our elected officials of the crisis situation surrounding the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. More than 50 percent of this species’ diet comes from salmon produced in the Columbia Basin, half of which are produced in the Snake River system. These beloved orcas are starving and malnourished because their primary prey, Chinook, are endangered. The solution is in plain sight. The facts are not being discussed.

For more than 40 years, the dams in the Snake River have been destroying salmon runs that are a critical food source for the Southern Residents. We are concerned that said elected officials do not possess the vital information they need in order to take immediate action to recover endangered species in our home State of Washington.

Furthermore, the federal agencies legally entrusted to recover endangered salmon in the Columbia Basin are not fulfilling their statutory responsibilities and are playing games with the courts directing them to do otherwise. Breaching the four lower Snake River dams can move forward immediately utilizing the 2002 Lower Snake River EIS. This can be accomplished for less than yet another EIS study and without the need for Congressional authority or new appropriations.

We, the 22,000+ signees of the petition found here hope that this ad will generate more urgency and honesty amongst our elected officials. We hope that more of the public will join in with tens of thousands of others whom have contacted offices of Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray. The character of the Pacific Northwest is at stake in this issue.