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Idaho Governor: "Ditch The Secret
Backroom Dam Breaching Deals"

by Staff
Big Country News, December 15, 2023

"We believe the authors of this deal are genuine
in their desire to do what they believe is right for constituents."

The east shore of the northbound Snake River, near the Southway boat ramp, became a field of muddy river rocks during the test drawdown in 1992. BOISE -- A statement issued today by Idaho Governor Brad Little's office says the recent agreement between the Biden Administration and the states of Washington and Oregon and the tribes on dam breaching represents a missed opportunity. The statement header reads: "Ditch the secret backroom dam breaching deals. Let's focus on common ground."

"Instead of working together to find common ground, the signatories to the agreement pandered to their political supporters and paid no attention to the real impacts dam removal would have on Idahoans," says the statement. "As Idaho state leaders, we are united in our strong opposition to removing the dams because it would eliminate a clean source of energy (hydropower) that powers the entire region, harm agriculture, and fundamentally change our economy for the worse."

Little says the deal that was released to the parties with only weeks to examine is an aspirational document that spends Pacific Northwest ratepayer money with little to no accountability for outcomes in fish populations or energy production. "Perhaps what's worse, the deal contemplates eliminating thousands of megawatts of clean energy while the region is facing an 8,000-megawatt energy deficit in the next decade," says the statement.

"You don't have to take it from us. Just look at the inland ports, agriculture commodity groups, and local communities that are impacted by the deal. They are opposed to the settlement agreement, and for good reason. Not only were they not included in the process, but they were flatly ignored when they tried to give input," says the statement. "Additionally, breaching the dams threatens regional economic stability and power system reliability. Without the certainty provided by clean hydropower, the Pacific Northwest would be left with unreliable power sources that simply can't replace firm, dispatchable power."

According to the Governor's Office, the Portland region has 7,000 megawatts of intermittent wind power. During the Portland "Heat Dome," less than 400 megawatts were generated by wind, and the region had to go to the market to buy expensive energy sources during peak demand.

"We believe the authors of this deal are genuine in their desire to do what they believe is right for constituents. Unfortunately, it appears they only listened to a select few constituents in the region while disregarding many," says the statement. "A truly inclusive process would have acknowledged that we can provide structural repairs and improvements that benefit fish while simultaneously preserving the region's critical access to clean hydropower the dams provide."

The statement says as long as the proponents of the agreement include language that suggests we breach clean hydropower, Idaho has no choice but to stand in opposition. "We simply can't afford to let Idaho communities, farmers, and ratepayers suffer," says the statement.

Idaho Governor: "Ditch The Secret Backroom Dam Breaching Deals"
Big Country News, December 15, 2023

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