the film
Commentaries and editorials

PUD Supports Keeping
Our Hydroelectric Dams

by David Muller
The Chronicle, June 15, 2009

To the editor:

Electric ratepayers need to know that decisions are being made that will directly affect their cost of electricity. After years of study, and the input of various interest groups, the Bonneville Power Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have issued a Columbia River Biological Opinion regarding restoration of fish runs.

As many ratepayers know, nearly $1 billion per year is spent for fish in the Columbia River. When the Lewis County Public Utility District purchases power from the BPA, approximately 20 percent of the power costs are for fish. An average Lewis County customer pays about $28 per billing for fish.

Even though the new Columbia River Biological Opinion will result in additional fish expenditures, a small but politically influential group of critics say it's not enough. They are bringing pressure on members of Congress and the administration to remove the hydroelectric dams on the Snake River.

Removal of the four lower Snake River dams is estimated to add 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually as a result of replacement of clean hydroelectric power with more expensive fossil fuel power. In addition, the loss of the dams would also remove the "river highway" requiring thousands of trucks to move the agricultural products now shipped by barge.

The new Biological Opinion is supported by a majority of the treaty tribes, a majority of the non-treaty tribes, and a majority of the states. Your Lewis County PUD commissioners strongly support the new Biological Opinion and oppose removal of the Snake River dams.

If you have an opinion on whether or not the hydroelectric dams on the Snake River should be kept or removed, this is the time to contact your senators and representatives.

David Muller, manager, Lewis County PUD
PUD Supports Keeping Our Hydroelectric Dams
The Chronicle, June 15, 2009

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