Breach the Ballard Locks first, before Snake River dams, says Ericksen bill

  • Would study lock-breaching, removal of Seattle City Light dams
  • Skagit River would run free, mighty Ravenna Creek would see daylight
  • Would give Seattle honor of “going first” in environmental restoration

OLYMPIA – Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has introduced legislation allowing the citizens of Seattle to lead the state in environmental restoration efforts.

Senate Bill 6380 would launch a study of breaching the Ballard Locks, removing the Seattle City Light dams that provide most of Seattle’s power, and restoring Seattle waterways to a pristine natural state. The measure aims to restore the natural paradise that existed in Seattle before settlers arrived 169 years ago.

“When we started talking about this idea last summer, we heard applause from across the state,” Ericksen said. “It was loudest from areas where Seattle environmental groups have proposed radical measures that would create local economic disaster, like breaching the Snake River dams. Funny thing, we didn’t hear any cheers from Seattle.”

Ericksen’s bold vision would enable Seattle to “go first” and lead by example. The Skagit River would run free. The Montlake Cut would be filled so that Lake Washington could be raised to historic levels. Ravenna Creek, now routed through a sewer pipe, would return to daylight, providing spawning habitat for fish. The local economy could be reoriented to tourism.

“I’m sure we could design an impartial study to reach the conclusions we want,” Ericksen said. “Lake Washington property owners might be inconvenienced when the water starts rising. Others might not like it when electricity bills skyrocket. But as they say in Seattle, no sacrifice is too great for somebody else to make.”