Some want to breach the four lower Snake River dams.
Senate Republicans and many others believe that’s the wrong approach…
WA state Dems wasting time and money on more Snake River dam studies | Opinion
Like all budgets, the new operating budget for state government is a reflection of priorities — primarily those of the majority. As senators representing districts along or close to the Snake River, we are unable to get past one familiar Democrat priority in particular: as we write this, the budget contains yet another appropriation related to breaching the Snake River dams.
This time it’s for $2.5 million, over two years, to study how to replace the capacity to generate power and supply irrigation water that would be lost if the Democrats, who despise the dams, ever get their way.
The Army Corps of Engineers environmental impact report from 2020 rejected the idea of dam breaching based on a comprehensive assessment of both the ecological science and the power needs of the Pacific Northwest. The research concluded that there is no way to replace the clean, renewable energy the dams provide. They provide 5% of our region’s electricity, enough to power the city of Seattle. Washington can only afford to lose that much power if we want to see California-style rolling blackouts.
“Dam-breaching would be a disaster for Southeast Washington, our state and the Pacific Northwest.
It would drive up the cost of shipping our region’s wheat.
It would degrade air quality. It would devastate the economy of our region.
And it would eliminate an enormous source of clean, cheap electricity at a time when we are phasing out coal plants and supply is running short.” – Sen. Mark Schoesler
“Then there’s the uncertainty that goes with the incessant, misguided campaign against the lower Snake River dams, which not only provide reliable clean energy but also are essential to Washington agriculture as a source of irrigation water and low-carbon transportation of commodities for export.” – Sen. Perry Dozier
“Whatever that cost of removal is, it would cause an 8% loss of the Bonneville Power Administration’s emission-free electricity that those dams generate. That electricity is inexpensive and carbon dioxide- and particulate-free. Replacing hydroelectric power with alternative sources of generation, mostly coal and natural gas, would not only increase electricity rates but would substantially increase carbon dioxide and particulate emissions.” – Robert Bakes, former Idaho deputy attorney general and chief justice of the Idaho Supreme Court
“The loss of irrigation would, of course, devastate the farms that depend on water from the Ice Harbor pool, and the 8% increase in transportation costs is too much for dryland farms, especially when you are paying the cost of freight” –Heather Stebbings, policy adviser for the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association