Merkley, Wyden Announce $500,000 for CRITFC to Advance Salmon-Friendly Clean Energy Efforts in the Columbia River Basin

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) is receiving $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Future Grants (EFG) Program to advance river and energy system models adapted to the Columbia River Basin that will strengthen the protection and restoration efforts of native salmon.

“Indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest have been stewards for the Columbia River and its wildlife since time immemorial. Supporting Tribal-led initiatives is vital to protecting our waterways and empowering Tribal economic and cultural sovereignty,” dijo Merkley. “This federal funding will support CRITFC’s efforts to find an energy solution that is adapted to the unique landscape of the Columbia River Basin that also restores salmon populations.”

“The climate crisis requires creativity and expertise to equitably address salmon population recovery, clean energy production, and other effects of climate change,” dijo Wyden. “The Inter-Tribal Commission has that innovative knowledge, and I’m gratified it has earned this federal funding. I will continue to work with this key group and other Tribal partners to restore salmon populations in Oregon and the Northwest.”

In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the historic Justice40 Initiative, DOE announced $27 million in financial and technical assistance awarded to 40 partner teams of states, local governments, and Tribes through the EFG Program. Energy Future Grants provide financial and technical assistance to support multijurisdictional partnership efforts to advance innovative clean energy programs that will enhance energy affordability, access, and opportunities for communities. EFG fosters out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration to help develop solutions to encourage and facilitate successful clean energy projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.

“CRITFC and our member tribes have a vision of a future where the Columbia Basin electric power system supports healthy and harvestable fish and wildlife population, protects tribal treaty and cultural resources, and provides clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for the region. This grant is a step along the path to achieving that vision and we are grateful for the Biden Administration and our Congressional leaders recognizing the tribal expertise and leadership on this issue,” said CRITFC Chair Corinne Sams.

“CRITFC and our member tribes are honored to have been selected for one of the 2024 Energy Future grants,” said CRITFC Executive Director Aja DeCoteau. “We are committed to working with the federal government and other regional partners to lead the Columbia Basin toward an energy transition that serves the needs of people, cultures, natural resources, and the environment upon which we all depend.”