In a strongly-worded letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Idaho Rivers United and nine allies scolded the federal agency’s regional director for spreading misinformation about dams on the lower Snake River.
“We would hope you … tout an informed citizenry as crucial to democracy and consider it your mandate as a government official—particularly one of your rank and influence—to provide the public with accurate, data-verifiable information,” the letter states. “In light of that mandate, we challenge, as detailed below, several of your recent comments.”
The letter, dated Oct. 21, is addressed to Lt. Col. Timothy Vail, commander of the Corps’ Walla Walla District, and responds to statements distributed by Vail following the Free the Snake Flotilla on Oct. 3 when more than 300 people from throughout the Pacific Northwest gathered to protest the lower Snake River dams.
“It’s disappointing when a federal official is less than honest with citizens,” said IRU Conservation Director Kevin Lewis. “In order to make informed decisions about the lower Snake River and our endangered salmon we need facts and clarity. The commander appears to be working against that.”
In the days and weeks following the flotilla, Vail made a number of assertions in support of the status quo on the lower Snake River. Each are rebutted in the letter linked below.
“Considering all of the above, we expect you and the Corps to reexamine the information, data, and dollar figures that you have been providing to the public,” the letter states. “We request that you publicly and widely in the media correct your false and misleading statements and live up to the truth and transparency mandate democracy holds up to government officials and agencies.”