Northwest RiverPartners Urges President Biden to Prioritize Hydropower, Lower Snake River Dams in Effort to Keep Utility Costs & Greenhouse Gases Low
Key Quote: It is critical that President Biden recognize the value of hydropower,
and specifically the Lower Snake River dams, to his agenda. Hydropower is
clean, reliable, and affordable. Half of the Northwest’s electricity and 90% of its
renewable energy come from hydro. Removing the Lower Snake River dams
would hurt Northwest families by raising electricity rates and increasing
greenhouse gas emissions. This is not a step we can afford to take if we are to
build a lower-carbon, more resilient grid and the just economy we all want.
In President Biden’s first trip to Oregon and Washington since taking office, he is
expected to emphasize the importance of keeping energy costs low and reaffirm
his commitment to fighting climate change. These are goals we share.
Both objectives are critical as this region, along with the rest of the country, has
been hard hit by inflationary pressures for staples, such as food, housing, and
energy costs. At the same time, Northwesterners are also highly aware of the
threat climate change poses to public safety and environmental health after last
year’s record-breaking heatwave resulted in hundreds of deaths across the
Hydropower is the workhorse of the Northwest’s energy infrastructure and
provides safe, reliable, affordable, carbon-free energy. We can’t achieve our
multiple policy objectives without it.
It is noteworthy that the White House Council on Environmental Quality is leading
an effort that is considering the removal of highly productive hydroelectric dams
that provide enough zero-carbon electricity to power all the homes of Portland,
Seattle, Spokane, and Boise combined. Losing those dams could raise electricity
rates for customers by up to 25% or more across the region and increase
greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 million to 4.3 million metric tons of CO2 per
Biden’s visit coincides with Earth Day, with a 2022 theme entitled “Invest in Our
Planet.” Dam breaching would invest in the opposite, setting the Northwest
backwards in its decarbonization and electrification goals.
We urge President Biden and his administration to recognize the incredible value
of our hydropower resources, to connect the dots between dams and his agenda
on clean and affordable energy and to support a stronger and more resilient grid,
and a just domestic economy.
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