WASHINGTON – Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a draft report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advocating for breaching at least one of the Lower Snake River dams to improve salmon populations. It also published a study commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) laying out scenarios to replace power generated by the dams.
In response, U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) issued the following statement:
“In a time of record inflation and soaring energy prices, the Biden administration is endorsing a plan to rip out the Northwest’s clean energy assets while in the same breath asserting climate change is the largest existential threat. Even a study they commissioned acknowledged that energy replacement alone could cost over $75 billion, and unlike the comprehensive and public Columbia River System Operation review, this limited analysis was done in secret and without process,” said Risch. “Only Congress – not the President – has the authority to remove these dams. Now more than ever, I remain adamantly opposed to breaching the dams on the Lower Snake River.”
Background: The four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River provide multiple benefits to Idaho and the region, including flood risk management, economic stimulus, crop irrigation, and clean hydropower.
Following four years of comprehensive scientific study of the Columbia River System Operations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration released a record of decision in September 2020 affirming the four dams’ critical importance to the region.
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