A group of salmon-loving Washingtonians - along with an inflatable giant salmon and baby orca - showed up at Seattle City Hall to protest the City Council's comments submitted on the Draft Murray-Inslee Report.
(Click HERE for Seattle City Council and City Light's Letter)
Our message was to tell the Council that their letter did not represent the views of orca- and salmon-loving residents, was not in alignment with tribal leadership, and that there is no other science-based option but to breach the dams on the Lower Snake River, to save endangered salmon and Southern Resident orca.
The City Light/Council comments were deeply disappointing, inconsistent with the overwhelming body of evidence, and do not represent the views of the utility’s citizen-owners:
- The comments—which center on a false premise that “the life-cycle science concerning fish survival is not yet fully understood”—are a step backwards in regional dialogue around the needs of endangered fish, orca, and indigenous Tribes.
- The comments say “City Light supports efforts to identify mitigation opportunities that the tribes consider “appropriate and impactful…” For those who have ears to hear, it’s no mystery what Tribes consider “appropriate and impactful”. Resolutions from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians have explicitly
called for lower Snake River dam removal.
Committee Chair Sara Nelson opened the meeting with this comment, "Personally, I've always believed that salmon protection and restoration should be prioritized and as the new chair of City Light, I signed on in good faith that the utility shares that commitment. I'm looking forward to seeing the Murray/Inslee Plan which I expect to be out later this month and I'll make every effort to be supportive of that Plan once I've seen it. I appreciate the leadership that the Senator and Governor have shown to try to strike the right balance between honoring treaty rights, salmon recovery, and strengthening the power system."
She then asked those in attendance to refrain from making public comment on the issue, as it was not on the agenda and Council rules state that public comment can only happen on agenda-related items.
Councilperson Lisa Herbold spoke up and said that with the City Light's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on the agenda (and the IRP does involve the Lower Snake River dams), it would be appropriate to hear comments on the Letter.
A video of the meeting is HERE. Dana Schuerholz, Teacher from Vashon Island, did make comments, linking the imperative of breaching the Snake River dams with the IRP.
An album of photos from the action is on Backbone Campaign's Flickr page.