the film
Commentaries and editorials

The Many Consequences of Breaching
the Snake River Dams

by Jason Mercier
Capital Press, May 2, 2024

A young resident killer whale chases a chinook salmon near Vancouver Island. (Photograph by John Durban/NOAA In an era of moving towards more electrification and increasing power demand, it makes no sense to remove a clean, renewable power source. Hydropower is an important provider of reliable and clean energy for everyone in the Northwest. Many dams also provide important baseload power reliability to help a stressed energy grid during periods of extreme hot or cold.

The Snake River dams are critical to the infrastructure of our region, providing not only reliable power but also many other economic benefits. Removing these dams would have many negative impacts on our region.

You don't have to take my word for it. Here are some of the findings from the multi-year public process in 2020 conducted by The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration to produce a comprehensive scientific review of the issues surrounding the Snake River dams and possible breaching:

This multi-year scientific and public review process, which was undertaken by both a Democrat and Republican administration, made one thing abundantly clear: dam breaching on the lower Snake River is completely unnecessary and unwarranted.

In addition, Congress authorized these dams, and only Congress has the power to remove them. Thankfully, many of the congressional members elected to the areas surrounding the Snake River dams are working to protect the economic and environmental benefits they provide.

This includes local lawmakers as well. The Idaho legislature this year adopted SJM 103, to make it clear that the state is dam proud and strongly supports the clean renewable hydro baseload power, navigation, and irrigation provided by the Snake River dams. The Idaho Legislature declared: "the State of Idaho opposes any actions to degrade the functionality, in whole or in part, to remove or breach any dams on the Columbia-Snake River System or its tributaries...."

Protecting the Snake River dams and other federal water infrastructure is pivotal to the Northwest. We must remain dam strong for the benefit of our region.

Related Pages:
Hyperbole, Hysteria Won't Solve Lower Snake River Dams Argument by Editorial Board, Yakama Herald, 2/10/24

Jason Mercier is vice president and director of research of Mountain States Policy Center, an independent research organization based in Idaho, Montana, Eastern Washington and Wyoming.
The Many Consequences of Breaching the Snake River Dams
Capital Press, May 2, 2024

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