Replacing benefits of Snake River dams would cost billions

Snake River Washington state
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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A new report says the benefits provided by four giant hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River can be replaced if the dams are breached to save endangered salmon runs. But the report says finding other ways to provide electricity, irrigation and barge service would cost between $10.3 billion and $27.2 billion.

The report was commissioned by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, both Democrats, last October and released on Thursday.

The draft report does not make any recommendations on whether the four dams should be breached.

A decision on that divisive issue is expected later. Instead, the draft will allow the public, tribes, river users and other stakeholders to provide input over the next month that will inform any breaching decision.

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