Columbia dam operations EIS expedited

Print Article

A memorandum by President Donald Trump is expediting a draft environment impact statement for Columbia River system operations. (Photo courtesy COLUMBIA RIVER SYSTEM OPERATIONS EIS)

PRIEST RIVER — Mark your calendar if you would like to weigh in on system operations on the Columbia River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration are in the process of preparing a joint environmental impact statement to guide future operations of the 14 federal dam and reservoir projects on the Columbia River system in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. A draft version of the document wasn’t expected until March 2021, although a memorandum by President Donald Trump is expediting the process.

The draft EIS is now slated for public review in February 2020.

“That’s a ways out, I know. But this is a shorter deadline,” Logan Osgood-Zimmerman, senior water manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Seattle District, said during a lightly attended Albeni Falls Dam operations update meeting on Wednesday.

In October 2018, Trump released a memo promoting the reliable supply and delivery of water in the West.

“Unless addressed, fragmented regulation of water infrastructure will continue to produce inefficiencies, unnecessary burdens among the federal government, states, tribes and local public agencies that deliver water to their citizenry,” Trump said in the memo. “To meet these challenges, the Secretary of the Interior and the secretary of Commerce should, to the extent permitted by law, work together to minimize unnecessary regulatory burdens and foster more efficient decision-making so that water projects are better able to meet the demands of their authorized purposes.”

The comment period is not ample — 45 days — and corps officials said it’s typical for the agency to grant requests to extend the comment period. However, the corps expects time-extension requests to be turned down in light of the presidential memo.

“It most likely will not be extended,” Osgood-Zimmerman said.

The Columbia River system operations EIS process began in September 2016, which gave way to scoping and development of alternatives for detailed evaluation over the last two years. The draft EIS is undergoing a detailed analysis in the run-op to the document’s release.

A final EIS is slated for completion in June 2020 and a record of decision could issue in September 2020, according to the updated schedule.

The corps’ Seattle District spokesman, A. Scott Lawrence, there is not a great deal of information available on the EIS, but expects that to change by the time the corps hosts another dam operations update this summer.

“Hopefully, by the time we come out back in August we’ll have a little bit more information. Right now this is about all we got,” said Lawrence.


Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

Print Article

Read More Local News

PAFE gives $118,723 to local educators

May 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — The Panhandle Alliance for Education awarded more than $118,000 to local educators on Thursday in support of programs that enrich the lives of students in the Lake Pend Oreille School Dis...


Read More

Fire crews rescue couple from lake

May 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — A couple was rescued from the water after Selkirk Fire was alerted to people in the water near the Long Bridge about 10:17 p.m. Friday, according to fire department officials. Upon their...


Read More

Suffrage speaker: Sacrifices supreme

May 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By CRAIG NORTHRUP Hagadone News Network COEUR d’ALENE — Women rallied Monday to learn more about the lessons of the Women’s Suffrage movement in American history. Dr. Amy Canfield, associate pro...


Read More

Bleeding Hearts sets bridge cleanup

May 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — As spring has made its appearance, so has the garbage and gravel littering the path along the Long Bridge. The garbage on the path is not only unsightly to those traveling in and out of...


Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2019 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy