Group: Oil Leak Another Reason
Army Corps of Engineers estimated 300 to 600 gallons
may have leaked from the Little Goose Dam
An Idaho conservation group says a recently discovered oil leak at Little Goose Dam is just one more reason why the lower Snake River dams should be removed.
"Rather than continue to spend billions of dollars repairing aging infrastructure, it's time to make new investments in modern, clean energy systems that can replace these decrepit dams," said Mitch Cutter, salmon and steelhead associate with the Idaho Conservation League.
The Army Corps of Engineers reported the leak on Oct. 25, after it was confirmed by maintenance staff.
The agency estimated that 300 to 600 gallons of oil may have leaked from the Main Unit No. 1 turbine system over the previous three months. The turbine was shut down and isolated from the river while repairs are made. Oil absorbent booms were also deployed to capture any additional leaks.
A dam spokeswoman on Monday had no updated information regarding the status of the repairs, and no one else was available to answer questions.
In a news release, Cutter noted that all four lower Snake River dams are around 50 years old. According to a 2020 Corps of Engineers analysis, they also need about $30 million per year in capital repairs and replacements.
"As they continue to age past their intended lifespan, spills and forced outages like this will get more and more common," Cutter said. Removing the dams, "we can make sure our money is spent wisely, our rivers stay clean and our iconic salmon and steelhead are saved from extinction."
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