For immediate release: May 4, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Today the House Natural Resources Committee’s panel on Water and Power held an oversight hearing on federal hydropower in the West.
The congressional hearing closely precedes the May 9 federal court hearing in Portland, Ore., on the Obama administration’s Biological Opinion setting salmon protection and restoration policy for the Columbia and Snake River Basin, home to more than 200 hydroelectric dams.
House subcommittee chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) alleged that environmental laws might be raising West Coast consumers’ electricity bills. His concern however, flies in the face of definitive studies showing the Northwest can meet its future energy needs, reduce carbon emissions, grow a healthy economy and restore wild salmon -- all while lowering families’ energy bills.
The relevant reports include the NW Energy Coalition’s Bright Future and the scenario modeling appended to 2010’s Sixth Plan produced by the region’s official power planning agency, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
“We know we can build a healthier and more prosperous Northwest while combating climate change and protecting wild salmon,” said NW Energy Coalition executive director Sara Patton. “We have an abundance of bill-reducing energy efficiency opportunities and affordable new, clean renewable resources. Realizing just some of our tremendous clean energy potential will create good, local family-wage jobs and save consumers money.”
Save Our Wild Salmon policy and legal director, Nicole Cordan said the public-interest community is asking Congress and the Obama administration for simple balance when addressing Northwest hydropower.
“With more than 200 large dams in the Columbia-Snake River Basin, surely letting go of the four on the lower Snake River is a balanced approach,” Cordan said. “By removing these four dams, we can set an example for the rest of the nation by leading the way in renewable energy, while at the same time increasing jobs, building healthy economies, and protecting a precious national treasure: Pacific Northwest salmon.”
Amy Baird, Save Our Wild Salmon: (503) 230-0421, ext. 13
Marc Krasnowsky, NW Energy Coalition: (206) 621-0094