Oregon’s electric cooperative leaders are some of the friendliest people I have encountered. They are reasonable, courteous to a fault and slow to anger. It takes a lot to rile them up— things such as, well, taking away their clean, affordable power supply. Amazingly, that’s been proposed. We are extremely disappointed with Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to support breaching the four lower Snake River dams. The Snake River dams are an amazing resource for us, producing more than 1,000 average megawatts of reliable, carbon-free energy— enough energy for more than 800,000 Northwest homes.
Gov. Brown’s decision, made without consulting those of us who have paid for these dams, will have severe consequences for our mission of providing affordable, reliable electricity for more than a half-million Oregonians.
It is mind-boggling that during a serious legislative debate on carbon reduction, Gov. Brown supports a course of action that is estimated to increase CO2 emissions by more than 2 million metric tons every year. This output is approximately the emissions at the Boardman coal plant and the equivalent of adding 421,000 passenger cars to the region’s roads each year.
The state of Oregon claims it is serious about addressing climate change. If that is true, it is moving in the wrong direction.
Furthermore, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council—to which Gov. Brown appointed two Oregon members—has concluded the Northwest power supply becomes inadequate as early as next year. Taking out the lower Snake River dams, which help keep our region’s power and transmission systems in balance, could lead to blackouts for Oregonians.
Through our rates, we have invested billions of dollars in fish programs. These programs are working, with 96% survival rates through the dams. We should be building on this success story, not tearing down dams.
Electric co-op leaders may disagree with Gov. Brown on this issue, yet throughout this disagreement they will be reasonable and courteous. But I tell you another thing for certain: They will also be heard.