By Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association, Special for USDR
Breaching the four Lower Snake River dams would undermine efforts by the states of Washington and Oregon to reduce CO2 emissions and forestall the detrimental impacts of climate change. That is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from a technical review prepared by the Columbia Research Corp. based in Seattle, WA, for the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association (CSRIA). The Lower Snake River dams were built in the 1960 and 1970s and serve the clean power needs of the Pacific Northwest.
The dam breaching litigation brought by the National Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice, the State of Oregon, and others against federal agencies and NOAA Fisheries’ challenges the Biological Opinion (BiOp), a set of detailed hydropower operating rules that has been approved by not only the dam operators, but other Northwest states, Tribal entities, public utilities, and private interests.
Columbia Research Corp. summarized technical information from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and other regional power planners, describing how breaching the Lower Snake River Dams would cause the following significant adverse impacts:
- Reduce capacity power generation in the Pacific Northwest by about 3,000 MW, to meet regional peak power demand in months like January.
- Destabilize power voltage requirements for the Greater Tri-Cities, WA area.
- Impair variable load following capability of the federal power system, and diminish required reserve power resources for system reliability.
- Impede the integration of existing and new wind and solar power resources that depend on the federal hydro system for load following and real-time power dispatch.
Without the Lower Snake River dams, the BPA will likely have no other alternative than to support aggressive utility construction of new fossil fuel combustion turbines (CCCT), to replace the Snake River dams’ lost capacity power generation. This action will increase regional CO2 production at a time when Washington/Oregon state environmental regulators are attempting to invoke new CO2 emission restrictions.
CSRIA representatives speculate that Washington Gov. Jay Insleemust be shaking his head wondering what his Oregon counterpart is thinking. Gov. Inslee, a BiOp lawsuit defendant-intervener, is working to convince state legislators to invoke a new, billion dollar state CO2 tax, while Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a BiOp lawsuit plaintiff-intervener, is encouraging environmental groups to destroy one of the most climate friendly power sources in the Northwest. The Snake River dams are a significant source of reliable capacity power that cannot be easily replaced.
The environmental groups’ confused climate change policy, coupled with the new BiOp lawsuit, gives further credence to CSRIA’s call for invoking the Endangered Species Act Committee (God Squad) to settle, with reasoned judgment, the required fish protection measures. As it now stands, the breaching advocates apparently want to destroy the environment in order to save it.
SOURCE Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association