The following press release was sent out by the office of US Senator for Idaho Jim Risch. Press releases do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch, following the release of the Biden administration’s Columbia River Basin announcement, doubled down in his opposition to dam breaching and reiterated that it is solely Congress that could remove the federal dams in the Columbia-Snake River System.
“Congress—and Congress alone—can authorize removal of the dams on the lower Snake River. Bureaucrats, activist litigation, nor this administration’s radical agenda will determine the fate of any of the Northwest’s federal dams,” said Risch. “This litigation effort was useless: It occurred behind closed doors, between two parties who wanted the same end result—to tear out our dams, and it completely excluded Idahoans who rely on the River System for its energy, transportation, agriculture, and recreation benefits. I will continue to fight any breaching efforts, and, at every turn, I will reject the Biden administration’s efforts to usurp Congressional authority.”Advertisement
Background: The four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River provide multiple benefits to Idaho and the region, including:
- Transportation of more than 15 million metric tons of wheat in 2020 with nearly 10% of all U.S. wheat moving out on the Snake River alone;
- $686 million in jobs and businesses associated with Idaho’s Port of Lewiston, the furthest inland port on the West Coast;
- A 95% emission-free power portfolio generated by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), allowing small public utilities across the Northwest to lead in clean energy production;
- Clean, always-on energy that can uniquely keep the lights on during extreme weather events where relying on wind and solar would cause blackouts; and
Following four years of comprehensive scientific study of the Columbia River System Operations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration released a record of decision in September 2020 affirming the four dams’ critical importance to the region.
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Tags: Biden Administration, Bonneville Power Administration, BPA, Bureau of Reclamation, Clean Energy, Columbia River, Columbia River Basin, Congress, Dam Breaching, Dams, Emission-Free Power, Hydroelectric, Hydropower, Idaho, Lewiston, Oregon, Power, Snake River, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington