Recent events in Washington state highlight the challenges of mitigating the effects of climate change. The Army Corps of Engineers operates nine hydroelectric dams in Washington. The dams produce large, shallow reservoirs which soak up sunshine and can become lethally hot for salmon. Climate change contributes.
To get federal help, Washington state notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 that river temperatures exceeded state water quality standards. EPA and Washington reached an agreement in 2000 that EPA would issue the needed specification for safe river temperatures. But the EPA did not act.
Fishing and environmental groups sued EPA to compel production of a specification. A federal District Court issued an Order in 2018, but the EPA appealed. After a US Appeals Court confirmed the order, the EPA issued a specification for water temperature in May 2020. On July 29, 2020, the Corps of Engineers appealed to the Washing State Pollution Control Hearings Board. A hearing is scheduled for August 2021.
I hope efforts to protect the salmon are successful, but we need to curb climate change at the source, and Pennsylvanians can help. When fossil fuels are burned, greenhouse gases are generated, contributing to global warming. A bill before the U.S. Congress (the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 763) uses market forces to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, much the way higher cigarette prices help decrease smoking. Tell your members of Congress you support HR 763. You’ll help lower temperatures for both salmon and humans.’
This article originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times.