Oregon governor calls for breaching 4 Snake River dams

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's governor is in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week, saying she believes it is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs.

The Tri-City Herald reported the letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams.

The dams generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control and allow barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho.

But they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead that are migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds.

Dozens of scientists have also called for the dams to be breached.

In a letter signed by 55 scientists, representatives from Washington, Oregon and Idaho declared that hot water is harming salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. They say the reservoirs behind the eight dams in the system are a big part of the problem.