Press Statement

May 03, 2022 Vancouver, WA

Public Power/Farmers Roll Out Campaign to Protect Clean Energy, Fight Climate Change

Television ads up this week advocate for “Safe. Clean. Affordable.” hydropower to help meet region’s GHG responsibilities and protect farmland

PORTLAND, OR — May 3, 2022—This week Northwest RiverPartners,
representing not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities throughout the
Northwest, launched an advertising campaign to support protecting the clean
energy produced by the lower Snake River dams.

The four lower Snake River dams are a public resource that provide affordable,
reliable, carbon-free energy and fill in the gaps for intermittent power sources like
wind and solar. These dams are a critical component to helping our region meet
greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“If the lower Snake River dams were removed, the only practical way to replace
the power and reliability that the dams on the Snake River provide is to use more
energy produced by the burning of coal and natural gas,” said Kurt Miller,
executive director, Northwest RiverPartners. “We simply cannot achieve our
carbon reductions timeline and maintain a reliable electricity grid without the
lower Snake River dams.”

Even if the region were to replace the dams with wind or solar and batteries for
backup, carbon dioxide output would increase by more than 1 million metric tons
per year. The region would have to extend the use of existing fossil-fueled
resources to support our grid, making the impacts of climate change even worse.

The two ads highlight the importance of the LSRD to reducing emissions and
providing consistent and reliable electricity to an already strained system. A 2020
federal analysis shows losing the lower Snake River dams would double the
region’s risk of blackouts if the generating capacity isn’t replaced.

“Electric utilities are ultimately responsible for the health, safety, and wellbeing of
the communities we serve, and we are deeply concerned we could be heading
for a reliability cliff,” said Rick Dunn, general manager, Benton Public Utility
District. “During the extreme temperatures of last year’s heat dome event, all
electric utilities in the Tri-Cities were put on notice localized blackouts could
become necessary. Without the power and transmission grid support provided
by generators at Ice Harbor dam, my community could have experienced
blackouts, putting lives at risk. We need to keep the Lower Snake River dams.”

Citations for all of the facts in the ads can be found here.

“Equity concerns are at the heart of utilities’ efforts to preserve the lower Snake
River dams. The communities we serve, like Pacific County, Washington, include
many diverse and vulnerable groups that cannot afford to lose access to the
clean, affordable energy the dams provide,” said Humaira Falkenberg, power
resource manager, Pacific Public Utility District. “This is not an issue of people
vs. salmon, however. Extinction is not an option, and we are committed to
continued habitat improvements and to fighting climate change, which is the most
serious threat to salmon and steelhead.”

These ads share the benefits of the lower Snake River dams beyond affordable,
safe, and reliable energy. Irrigated farmland and low-carbon shipping rely on
them. If the dams were removed, 48,000 acres of irrigated farmland would be lost
as well as the low-cost and low-emissions barge transportation system which
would require replacement with more expensive and dirtier truck and rail

“This is not an either-or proposition—our region can and does have both healthy
rivers and a healthy economy.,” said Alex McGregor, chairman, The McGregor
Company in Colfax, Washington. “Over half of America’s wheat destined for
export comes down the Columbia and Snake canyons. The largest wheat
terminal in the United States, third largest in the world. Moving from barges
would mean 38,000 more rail cars down the crowded lines that parallel the
Columbia or 149,000 semi trucks.”

More information can be found at


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