New Survey Finds Majority of Pacific Northwest Residents Support Lower Snake River Dams and Hydroelectric Power
Political Efforts by Gov. Inslee and Senator Murray Around Possible Removal of the Lower Snake River Dams Should Be Informed By This New Information
Vancouver, WA, December 21, 2021 – Amid the regional debate over
hydropower, new survey data shows strong majorities of Pacific Northwest
residents support hydropower and the carbon-free energy provided by the lower
Snake River Dams in Eastern Washington. Conversely, Washington Gov. Jay
Inslee recently issued a policy directive aimed at potentially “replacing the
benefits of the four lower Snake River dams”. This directive coincides with an
effort by Inslee and US Senator Patty Murray to explore dam breaching.
Such a move runs counter to the nearly 60 percent of regional poll participants
who indicated direct support for the use of these hydroelectric dams.
Only 17 percent of participants oppose the dams and 23 percent remain
undecided. When asked directly about plans to breach the lower Snake River
dams only a minority–29%–said they would support breaching the dams.
The survey, produced by DHM Research, an independent and nonpartisan
research firm, was conducted from July 26 to August 3, 2021, and polled a
diverse range of 1,200 residents from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, with a
likely margin of error of +/- 2.8% overall and +/- 5.0% when broken down by
state. To ensure an inclusive and accurate data pool, the poll targeted residents
of all backgrounds and accounted for differences in age, gender, race/ethnicity,
education, and geographical location.
The analyzed data reflected that residents are mainly concerned about increased
electricity costs, loss of a carbon-free energy source, and the agricultural impacts
associated with dam removal.
“Today’s survey results ultimately demonstrate that Pacific Northwest residents
understand the integral role hydropower plays in supporting our clean energy grid
and fish recovery and our policy leaders should take note,” said Kurt Miller,
executive director of Northwest RiverPartners. “With national inflation now hitting
a 30-year high and soaring energy prices, affordable access to hydropower is
more critical than ever when it comes to achieving our region’s ambitious
decarbonization and economic justice goals.”
Other key findings from the survey suggest that support for the lower Snake
River Dams is bipartisan and geographically diverse with both metro and rural
residents indicating high levels of support.
Overall, the data reflects positive regional attitudes towards the lower Snake
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
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