Updated: Jul 21
In an era of electrification and increased power demand, it makes no sense to remove a clean, renewable source. So far, sanity is prevailing. How long that will last is anyone’s guess.
The latest attempt to remove the lower Snake River Dams has been pushed back, for now. Language to remove the dams has been removed from the Water Resources Development Act. That Act is included in the federal government’s NDAA – the National Defense Authorization Act.
Idaho Senator Jim Risch led the effort to remove the language. Senator Risch says:
“The Water Resources Development Act should strengthen our water infrastructure, not dismantle it. Removal of the Snake River dams would inflict an unthinkable cost on the Northwest, all while worsening sky-high energy prices and inflation. I fought to remove language aimed at dam breaching from WRDA and remain flatly opposed to removal of the lower Snake River dams.”
The lower Snake River Dams are critical to the infrastructure of the region, providing not only power benefits, but also reductions in flood risk, crop irrigation and much more.
As Senator Risch points out, “following a four-year comprehensive scientific study of the Columbia River System Operations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration released a record of decision in September 2020 affirming the four dams’ critical importance to the region.”
Unlike wind and solar power, the Snake River dams provide more than 1,000 average megawatts of reliable, carbon-free energy that can be turned on at any moment. That's enough energy for over 800,000 average U.S. homes.
If we are serious about protecting the environment, we will keep the dams in place.