Lawmakers battle over bill to prevent breaching of dams

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Three Republican U.S. House members from Washington state are criticizing Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for opposing their legislation that would prevent the breaching of four dams on the Snake River to help improve endangered salmon runs.

The three Republicans support a bipartisan bill that seeks to maintain existing dam operations until at least 2022.

Murray and two Democratic House members from the Seattle area are pushing an environmental study that will look at different alternatives for salmon recovery, including breaching one or more of the dams.

Republican U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler contend that “Seattle Democrats are putting politics over science.”

This is the latest skirmish in a decades-long battle that pits environmentalists against users of the Columbia-Snake river system.

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