The Grays Harbor PUD has released the following statement of the release of the final Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement(EIS), which recognizes the value of hydropower to the Pacific Northwest and the Lower Snake River Dams:
“Four years of testimony from stakeholders, examination of the best science available, and consideration of opinions from every conceivable position have led to the this document, which recognizes the value of the hydroelectric system to the Pacific Northwest, the importance of the Lower Snake River dams to that system, and offers a compromise solution that addresses the natural environment and the needs of our region.
“The EIS directly addresses the false claims that the Lower Snake River Dams are obsolete, not critical to the regions energy system and can be easily removed. The EIS also recognizes the impacts that the hydroelectric system has on salmon runs, but offers a reasonable, data-backed compromise solution of increased spill and mitigation efforts that will aid in salmon recovery while allowing utilities to keep the lights on throughout the region.
“While the increased spill to aid in fish migration recommended in the final document may mean a decrease in energy production and an increase in Bonneville Power Administration wholesale rates, the impacts of those concessions are far less than the devastating impacts that would come with the removal of the four Lower Snake River Dams. The dams are a critical component not only of the regions energy system, but also to surrounding areas economic, recreational, and agricultural well-being.
“The Grays Harbor PUD thanks the Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation for their diligent work on this important subject and for the inclusive nature of the EIS process which allowed the opinions of all parties to shape a reasonable and acceptable path forward.”