Resolution on Recovery of Endangered Salmon, Steelhead and Southern Resident Orcas

      1024 1024 34th Democrats

      Adopted at the November 10, 2021 meeting of the membership.

      WHEREAS, between 1991 and 1999, thirteen stocks of Columbia/Snake River salmon and steelhead were listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, including Snake River sockeye, steelhead and spring, summer and fall chinook; and

      WHEREAS, the population of Southern Resident orcas, designated as an endangered species in 2005, has declined from 98 individuals in 1995 to just 74 today, with lack of chinook salmon for food a central cause of the decline; and

      WHEREAS, over the past two decades, six federal agency salmon recovery plans, and the expenditure of $17 billion have left the listed stocks of Columbia Basin salmonids closer to being on a track to extinction than on a path to recovery, and Southern Resident orca populations in continuing decline; and

      WHEREAS, the Northwest can replace the power generated by the four lower Snake River dams with a combination of new wind, solar, and demand-side resources (energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage) that are all achievable in the next ten years; and improved alternatives to the current irrigation infrastructure and barge transportation practices can be developed, and

      WHEREAS, resolutions from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and from the National Congress of American Indians have emphatically called for breaching the lower Snake River dams, in order to honor the U.S. government’s obligations under treaties with Northwest Tribes; and

      WHEREAS, Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee have committed to working “…with our Northwest Tribes, states, and all the communities that rely on the river system to achieve a solution promptly” and added, “We, too, want action and a resolution that restores salmon runs and works for all the stakeholders and communities…;”

      NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the 34th Legislative District Democratic Organization recognizes and honors the claims of Northwest Tribes, and applauds the leadership of Senator Murray and Governor Inslee in stepping up to drive a timely resolution of these issues; and

      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that breaching the four lower Snake River dams, accompanied by investments to meet the needs of stakeholders and communities from the Columbia Basin to the coast, must be the twin cornerstones of any lawful and effective salmon and orca recovery plan; and

      BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we call on the Biden Administration to work with Northwest Tribes, states, other stakeholders and elected officials to meet the U.S. Government’s legal and treaty obligations and to provide robust funding to make all this happen as soon as possible.

      Submitted by the Environment, Energy and Land Use Caucus of the 34th LD.