Press Statement

July 19, 2022 Vancouver, WA

Labor Leaders Across the PNW Support Keeping the Dams on the Lower Snake River

From Pierce County to Idaho, union members back clean, affordable hydroelectricity

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

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,

“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


Contact: Aaron Toso, 253-495-1296,

About Northwest RiverPartners

Northwest RiverPartners (NWRP) is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization.
We represent not-for-profit, community-owned utilities across Washington,
Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada. We also proudly represent
farmers, ports, and businesses across the region that support clean energy and
low-carbon transportation.

NWRP is focused on raising awareness about how the Northwest’s hydropower
system betters communities and the natural environment, and we encourage
science-based solutions that help hydropower and salmon coexist and