Runoff | Nov. ’22

Hello hydro-enthusiasts and welcome back to Runoff! You’ve just clicked on the blog about Northwest hydropower, which coincidentally is likely powering the device on which you’re reading this blog! Each month, we capture the region’s most important hydropower news and give you our take on it, along with some more lighthearted and interesting segments along the way.

Hydropower round-up

Hydro at the ballot box

Next Tuesday’s mid-terms may bring significant change to the Northwest policy landscape. The election certainly will usher in some new policymakers. In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown is not eligible to seek reelection due to term limits. The polls are a toss-up for the frontrunners, Christine Drazan (R) and Tina Kotek (D), with Betsy Johnson running as an independent, currently in third place.

Elsewhere in Oregon, neither Representative Kurt Schrader nor Peter DeFazio will return to their respective seats. In the fourth district, Alek Skarlatos (R) and Val Hoyle (D) are running to replace the retiring DeFazio. As for the fifth district, Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D) defeated Schrader in the primary and is up against Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) in next Tuesday’s race.
Across the river, Washington Congresswoman Jamie Herrera-Beutler was narrowly defeated during the primary election, with Joe Kent (R) and Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D) now on the ballot to represent Southwest Washington voters.

What does this mean for hydropower policy?

In Oregon, Governor Brown hasn’t been supportive of the hydropower system. Under her leadership, the State of Oregon is suing the federal agencies over the 2020 CRSO EIS. More specifically, her office has argued that the recommendations don’t do enough for salmon recovery. She has also advocated for breaching the lower Snake River dams on numerous occasions.

Drazen has taken a strong stance against dam breaching and said, if she is elected, Oregon will withdraw from litigation against hydropower operations. Kotek’s position on dams has not been reported. In any case, we could see Oregon’s leadership take a more pro-hydro stance post-election and change the litigation landscape as well.

Oregon’s outgoing US representatives, DeFazio and Schrader, are hydropower champions, so the new representatives will have big shoes to fill in that regard. For Washington, Herrera-Beutler is a hydropower advocate and a voice for smart salmon recovery policies. Notably, she played an instrumental role in creating a more effective sea lion management in the Columbia River to counteract the threat sea lions pose to salmon.

Our Take:

  • Northwest RiverPartners does not endorse candidates for office. Whatever your stance, we do encourage you to cast your ballot Tuesday, November 8th and participate in the critical process of selecting our elected representatives.
  • A cornerstone of our work as an organization is to educate policymakers to help them make informed decisions on hydro. We will welcome these new elected officials and discuss the important topics and issues facing Northwest hydropower with them and their offices.

Giving thanks…

On another political note, this past month we ran a series of ads thanking Washington Representative’s Cathy-McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse, and Senator Patty Murray for their contributions to the Murray-Inslee process.

As you may recall, the process ultimately concluded that breaching the lower Snake River dams is infeasible, given the region’s infrastructure needs. Instead, it recommended seeking other immediate salmon recovery solutions.

Our Take:

  • Some of the reporting on the recommendations from the Murray-Inslee Process has been unclear, so our thank you ads were important to help educate the public. It’s also important that policymakers know that the region appreciates policies that recognize the tremendous benefits hydropower brings the region.

RiverPartners World Tour

Okay, “World Tour” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but our travel schedule has been full for the past month as we spread the good word about our dams across the region.
We did get the chance to make the trip down to Sacramento to attend Clean Currents 2022, a major conference hosted by the National Hydropower Association. Not only that, our executive director, Kurt Miller, was an expert panelist on the topic of communicating about hydropower. All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at this great event and look forward to 2023!

Kurt also participated in VANtalks (Vancouver, Washington’s take on TEDtalks), a debate over the lower Snake River dams at Northwest Environmental Business Council‘s Energy Leadership Conference, and a policy forum in #Lewiston, Idaho. We also had a booth at this year’s #TriCitiesRiverFest!

We just might be coming to your backyard next. 🙂

If you’re an avid reader of Runoff, this segment is typically reserved for your submissions, but we still haven’t gotten any. So, here’s how it works; regular readers and RiverPartners’ members alike can send us hydropower jokes, memes, or awesome photos to info@nwriverpartners.org.

Your great content will be featured right here in a future segment, where you’ll get a shout out for your contribution. As a bonus, we’ll even send you some of our highly sought after stickers!

Hydro headlines

Small Hydropower Market Size to Surpass USD 10.56 BN by 2030 | AltEnergyMag

The latest study collated and published by Nova one advisor analyzes the historical and present-day scenario of the global Small Hydropower market to accurately gauge its growth potential. The study presents detailed information about important growth...

altenergymag.com
National Conduit Hydropower capacity potential map
Existing Water Infrastructure Holds Key To Generating More U.S. Hydropower

The United States has a great network of waterways that is used for municipal, agricultural and industrial purposes. With millions of miles

CleanTechnica
hydropower plant
Significant Global Potential To Increase Generation From Hydropower Projects Without Adding New Dams

Between retrofits of existing hydropower dams, adding turbines to non-powered dams, floating solar on hydropower reservoirs, and off-channel pumped storage, the world can add considerable amounts of generation and storage from hydropower projects...

Forbes

In Our Opinion...

Advocate: Dams critical for clean energy goals

Hydropower, including the four lower Snake River dams, will play a critical role in meeting the region’s clean energy goals and maintaining a safe and reliable supply of electricity.

The Lewiston Tribune

Outflow

Thanks for carving some time out of your day to read Runoff! We’ll be back on December 2nd, but in the meantime, be sure to follow us on our other social media channels below and spread the word about this blog with your own followers!

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