lower granite dam

Oregon Business and Industry this week warned Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., about the harm removing four Lower Snake River dams would do to Oregonians. Responding to a Washington study examining the costs and benefits of breaching the dams, OBI’s July 11 letter expresses “significant concern” that it understates the importance of the clean energy and efficient transportation the dams provide.

The report’s authors fail to account for the downstream consequences of breaching the dams, including the damage to Oregon’s economy, the effects on Oregon’s power grid and its transportation system. Oregon business, already struggling to adjust to aggressive state emissions-reduction policies, are “stunned at the idea of removing 1,000 megawatts of clean, reliable, affordable energy from the region,” OBI notes. Oregon will need every available megawatt of clean energy to meet the state’s shift to electrification. Losing the electricity generated by the dams would raise rates at least 25%, which would harm individual ratepayers, businesses, hospitals and nonprofits.

Breaching the dams also would divert barged freight to trains and trucks, creating the need for significant spending to improve transportation infrastructure. Such a shift would significantly increase the production of greenhouse gases.

Only five Oregonians were consulted in developing the report, none of them from the state’s business or energy sectors. The report ultimately will inform breaching recommendations by Inslee and Murray.

Read the letter here.