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Agencies Speed Up Columbia River EIS

The Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration announced January 9 that they have revised the schedule to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS) to assess and update their long-term strategy for the operations, maintenance and configuration of the 14 federal dam and reservoir projects in the Columbia River System.

According to the new schedule, these co-lead agencies will sign the Records of Decisions by the end of September 2020, one year earlier than previously scheduled.

The schedule revision is the result of an October 19 directive from President Donald Trump calling for streamlined federal agency decision-making and coordination on several water projects in the west.

The Corps of Engineers, as the lead federal agency for the EIS, issued this statement: “We remain committed to identifying a long-term strategy for the operation, maintenance and configuration of the 14 projects in the Columbia River System that best balances their multiple purposes. The contributions from tribes, the public and federal and state agencies across the region will continue to inform our decisions as we reach our new completion date.”

The co-lead agencies are preparing the EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

In this Columbia River System Operations EIS, they will present a range of reasonable alternatives for long-term system operations and evaluate the potential impacts on flood risk management, irrigation, power generation, navigation, fish and wildlife conservation, cultural resources, water quality and recreation.

A copy of the new timeline is available at www.crso.info.  A link to the president’s October 19 memo can be found here.

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