Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

No New Dams in Yakima River Basin

News Release: Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 Contact: David Ortman (Sierra Club): 206-354-2910 (mobile) deortman@msn.com

Sierra Club: No New Dams in Yakima River Basin Yakima - Today the Sierra Club issued a formal statement to state and federal officials that Sierra Club opposes new dams proposed for the Yakima River Basin as environmentally damaging and not cost effective. This was the second meeting of the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project 2009 Work Group.

"Sierra Club opposes expanding the dam at Bumping Lake adjacent to the William O. Douglas Wilderness," said David Ortman representing Sierra Club and a long time environmental advocate in the Pacific Northwest. "The Bureau of Reclamation dropped the Bumping Lake Enlargement from its December 2008 Yakima Water Storage Feasibility Final Report. This report also confirmed that the proposed Black Rock Dam and Wymer Dam are huge money losers for taxpayers. In the face of climate change, the future of water for irrigators is conservation, water markets, and improved efficiencies."  Yakima River Basin's water future

On June 30 the Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington State Department of Ecology hosted the first meeting of the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project 2009 Work Group. Participation is by government invitation only, and Sierra Club was not invited to attend as part of the work group. "Since we were not invited to participate, Sierra Club wanted to be clear with the federal and state governments of our opposition to new dams," said Ortman. "The Yakima is a poster child for water scarcity throughout Washington State. We need political leadership - and an end to the dam-building frenzy that wastes time and money while delaying real remedies for our water future."

Sierra Club has had a longstanding interest in water issues in the Yakima River Basin. The organization was also involved in establishing the William O. Douglas Wilderness. Ortman and Cathleen Douglas Stone -- the widow of Supreme Court Justice Douglas -- met with Congressional staff in Washington, D.C. earlier this year to raise objections to the Bumping Lake Dam enlargement and resulting damage to old growth forests, recreational opportunities, and the impacts to the William O. Douglas Wilderness Area.