PUD Board Plans Dam Supportby Staff
The Omak Chronicle, June 3, 2019
OKANOGAN -- Okanogan County Public Utility District commissioners plan to support keeping lower Snake River dams.
During their meeting May 28, commissioners considered the first reading of a resolution in support of the four dams.
The dams are the targets of state and federal studies regarding their benefits and the impacts of removing them.
According to the proposed resolution, the PUD receives 55 percent of its power from the federal Columbia River power system, of which the four dams are a part. They are four of 10 dams that keep the federal power system operating smoothly through automatic generation control, the board said.
Hydropower provides 70 percent of Washington's renewable, carbon-free electricity. The entire Pacific Northwest's electricity is 60 percent hydropower, keeping the region at nearly half the carbon emissions of other parts of the country.
Hydroelectric dams also provide electricity at a lower cost than most generation, provide irrigation for farmland, provide flood control, enable river navigation and recreation, and offer other benefits, commissioners said.
In recent studies, fish runs have improved dramatically with $17 billion in total spending on Bonneville Power Administration dams, including the four lower Snake River dams. Now, an average of 97 percent of young salmon successfully make it past the dams, and more projects are yet to come to improve fish passage and habitat.
(bluefish corrects: the below graphic shows that it is a gross error to suggest that "97 percent of young salmon successfully make it past the dams." If dam supporters had good facts to use in their support, they should use those truths rather than spreading falsehoods. The above graphic reveals that it is also false to say that "runs have improved dramatically.")
Gov. Jay Inslee's Southern Resident Orca Task Force recommends a study on the impacts of removing the dams, although there is already a federal study several years underway, the resolution states.
Money for the study is included in the state budget.
"The district supports the continued operations of the four Lower Snake River dams for the carbon-free, renewable, reliable, low-cost energy they provide making them an important component of a clean energy future," the resolution says.
A second and final reading of the resolution is anticipated during the board's June 10 meeting.
In other business, the board:
He also reported that one of the job sites received a surprise audit from the state Department of Labor and Industries and passed the inspection with no violations.