Remove the Lower Snake River Dams? The Competing Issues

Date: July 29, 2022

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Event Type: Live/Livestream
Members and Non-Members may attend our forums for free

Venue: First United Methodist Church
1376 Olive Street
Eugene, Oregon

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Other Details:

NOTE: No lunch.
Ask a question of the speakers! Text it to (541) 852-0302 during the program.
Watch the program via livestream:


On June 9, 2022, US Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee, both of Washington State, announced the release of an independent draft report that will help inform the recommendations of their Joint Federal-State Process regarding the Lower Snake River Dams and salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest. Governor Inslee and Senator Murray stated:

     “Every community in the Pacific Northwest knows the value and importance of our iconic salmon runs—and every community recognizes the importance of salmon to our economy and cultural heritage. We each remain firmly committed to saving our salmon. We also know that the dams provide significant benefits to our region’s economy and communities. In the coming weeks, we will carefully review and consider public input, tribal consultation, and other engagement from stakeholders before making any recommendations.”

What exactly are the competing stakeholder interests that make this decision so difficult? Can they be accommodated? Some experts believe that there may be a solution to satisfy everyone. In this program, they will describe the options.

First questioner:          Frank Lawson, General Manager, EWEB


Name: Nancy Hirsh
Title: Executive Director
Organization: NW Energy Coalition

Nancy Hirsh is Executive Director of the NW Energy Coalition, where she served as policy director from 1996 to 2014. The Coalition is an alliance of more than 100 environmental, civic, and human service organizations, progressive utilities, and businesses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. It promotes development of efficient use of renewable energy, consumer protection, low-income energy assistance, and fish and wildlife restoration on the Columbia and Snake rivers. She serves on the board of Renewable Northwest and the Centralia Coal Transition Board and on the advisory committee for the Institute for Energy Studies at Western Washington University. Before joining the Coalition, she spent twelve years in Washington, DC working on national energy policy issues for the Environmental Action Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation.

Name: Kurt Miller
Title: Executive Director
Organization: Northwest River Partners

Kurt Miller is the executive director of Northwest RiverPartners, a clean energy and community advocacy organization supporting hydropower for a better Northwest. He joined Northwest RiverPartners in March 2019 and has made it a priority to engage with a broad range of stakeholder groups. He has spent most of his 30-year career in leadership positions for electric utilities, bringing expertise in power supply, demand response, and smart grid initiatives. While at Portland General Electric, he spearheaded the development of the largest smart grid project in the region and led the successful completion of Oregon’s Electric Highway for electric vehicles. He loves talking with people about how all of the pieces fit together in the work to reverse climate change and lift up local communities.

Name: Todd True
Title: Staff Attorney
Organization: Earth Justice

Todd True is a senior attorney in the Northwest Office of Earthjustice, where he has worked since 1987.  Todd represents public interest environmental organizations in litigation under federal and state environmental laws. For many years, he has served as lead attorney for conservation and fishing groups in litigation over the impacts of federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers on salmon and steelhead. He is a past president of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington, served as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, on the Circuit’s Judicial Conference Executive Committee, and on the Circuit’s Lawyer Advisory Board. He graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1981, Order of the Coif, and was executive editor of the Oregon Law Review. After graduation, he clerked for The Honorable Betty B. Fletcher of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Name: Shannon Wheeler
Title: Vice Chair
Organization: Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee

Shannon F. Wheeler was elected in 2016 and again in 2019 to chair the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee, the governing body of the Nez Perce Tribe; he currently serves as vice-chair. During his tenure on the governing council, he served one year as the Chair of the Law and Order Subcommittee and one year as the Treasurer. His experience in the private sector and as an individual exercising Nez Perce Tribal treaty-reserved rights has served as the foundation for the polices he has promoted during his terms on the executive committee. These polices include job creation, tribal economic development, natural resource management, and preservation of the culture, history, and way of life of the Nimiipuu. During his tenure as an elected official, he has helped create a day worker program, develop the Nez Perce Tribal Water Code, purchase several retail enterprises, and work with federal and state agencies on resource and land management throughout the Nez Perce Tribe’s aboriginal territory.

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