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Commentaries and editorials

Much Ado About the
Lower Snake River Dams

by Su Libby
The Register-Guard, August 14, 2022

Ice Harbor dam impounds a reservoir that allows thirteen farms to pump irrigation water from a higher elevation than from the natural river, saving up to 80 feet of head and significant pumping expense. I'd like to commend the City Club of Eugene for hosting the panel that presented all sides of the discussion on removal of four Lower Snake River Dams. The panelists included Shannon Wheeler of the Nez Perce Tribe, Todd True of Earthjustice, Nancy Hirsch of NWRAP and Kurt Miller of NW RiverPartners.

Of all the panelists, Miller made several provocative claims:

  1. The LSRDs are paid for and only require maintenance.

    In fact, the four old dams will need new turbines.

  2. A highly scientific report was politically motivated.

    Fact: The highly respected National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just issued a report based on fish data over 20 years, that the four LSRDs must be removed immediately to prevent total salmonid extinction in the Lower Snake.

  3. If hydropower is removed, billions of dollars in costs will be passed on to the ratepayers. Hydropower is considered an important component of any renewable portfolio along with wind and solar energy.

    Several renewable energy entities are ready to take up the slack from removal only of inefficient dams. The Nez Perce have developed a mini grid with a 500 MW capacity via a Tesla Power Wall.

No one is advocating for (other) hydropower to be removed.

Related Pages:
We Can Have Our Salmon and Eat It, Too by Walt Pollock, The Register-Guard, 9/2/21

Related Sites:
Remove Lower Snake River Dams? YouTube Channel, City Club of Eugene, 7/29/22

Su Libby, Eugene
Much Ado About the Lower Snake River Dams
The Register-Guard, August 14, 2022

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