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Commentaries and editorials

Time is Running Out

by Anthony Jones
Lewiston Tribune, September 29, 2019

Costs of the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan hatcheries add substantially to the overall costs of the Lower Snake River dams. A few months ago, Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, gave a speech in Boise regarding the lower Snake River dams. At the time, he said he didn’t have answers, but he did have some questions. The truth is, most of his questions were answered a long time ago.

Half of the barge traffic has already switched to rail and the rest could be moved to rail cheaper than maintaining the navigation system. Whitewater recreation will replace flat water cruise ships. Irrigation pumping stations are easily and cheaply relocated. ...

Power from the lower Snake River dams is surplus energy that gets sold, mostly to California, for about half what it costs to produce. The dams are economic failures. All of that is known.

Bonneville Power Administration’s customers are the ones who subsidize the dams, and that leads to a bigger, broader and simpler question: Would BPA customers rather pay $40 per megawatt hour for their energy or would they rather pay $25?

We all know the answer to that one as well. ...

BPA cannot lower rates while it is losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year supporting high-cost surplus assets like the lower Snake River dams. In other words, BPA can shutter high cost assets in an effort to survive or the assets will be shuttered after BPA has failed to survive. Soft landing or hard landing, the status quo for both BPA and the lower Snake River dams will end in nine years. ...

Related Pages:
Simpson Should Start With This 'What If' Question by Anthony Jones, Lewiston Tribune, 5/5/19

Anthony Jones
Time is Running Out
Lewiston Tribune, September 29, 2019

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