Vancouver, Washington—July 19, 2022—This summer, a growing movement of labor leaders and the organizations they represent took a stand to endorse clean, affordable hydroelectricity. Multiple labor leaders and organizations from around the region submitted letters of support for the lower Snake River dams to the Murray-Inslee process.
Many of these labor organizations took votes on formal resolutions of support, as well. This effort builds on Labor’s nearly 100 years of supporting public hydropower and comes on the heels of multiple studies released this month that outline the high costs and negative social and environmental consequences of removing the lower Snake River dams.
A study by the Biden Administration’s Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) conducted by E3 verifies previous analyses and conclusions by Northwest RiverPartners, including the recently released study by Energy GPS. The E3 and Energy GPS studies demonstrate that, given existing technologies, there is currently no viable way to remove the LSRD without burning more fossil fuels or jeopardizing grid reliability. The BPA commissioned E3 study also states that Snake River dam removal could cost ratepayers as much as $75B just to replace their electricity generation capacity.
The Idaho AFL-CIO takes this issue so seriously that it passed a resolution with amendments that no future candidates will be endorsed by the Idaho AFL-CIO if they are in favor of breaching dams.
“The sun sets, the wind stops blowing, and our demand for power does not care. Without dispatchable energy like clean hydropower, solar and wind are not viable. Take away the dams and you take away power we need and the foundation our future green jobs depend on.” – Shannon Stull’s letter, Business Manager / Secretary-Treasurer, LiUNA Local 335, Vancouver, WA.
“Due to the challenges and delays in the current permitting process, my members are expressing concern whether Washington State is still committed to build. How can anyone say ‘the power from these dams can be replaced’ when there are no plans to do so? Washington needs more power plants slated to be built now, including carbon-free Nuclear, Pumped-Hydro Storage, and Green Hydrogen, and we need strong leadership to make it happen.” – Jeffery Owen’s letter, Business Manager, UA Local 32, Renton, WA.
“With the need to swiftly add 100GW of power to the 64GW that took a century to build, we need strong leadership and action now to build more while keeping what we have in hydroelectric generation. Removal of the four, zero-carbon, clean hydropower plants on the Lower Snake River would be a major setback in our efforts to keep Washington moving forward.” – Mark Riker’s letter, Executive Secretary, WSBCTC.
Riker also had an opinion editorial published in the Everett Herald. Here is an excerpt:
“Removal of these dams would set us back in our fight against climate change by increasing greenhouse gas emissions by causing us to rely on fossil generation longer and would make it harder to achieve our clean energy objectives.
Removal of the dams would also increase power costs by up to 25 percent which would disproportionately impact low-income communities. In 2022, the Snohomish County Public Utility District, the state’s largest public utility, estimates it will get 84 percent of its electricity from the region’s federal power system, which includes the Snake River dams.”
These labor leaders and organizations represent tens of thousands of workers throughout the PNW and support the dams and the clean, affordable and reliable electricity they generate:
- Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council
- Laborers’ International Union of North America Local (LiUNA 335)
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 36
- U.A. Plumbing & Pipefitters Local 32
- Pierce County Building and Construction Trades Council
- Northeast Washington and Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades
- Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council
- Longview-Kelso Building Trades Council
- Northcentral Washington Central Labor Council
- Spokane Regional Labor Council
- Southwest Washington Central Labor Council
- Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council