Dam-Spill Plan Backers Upset
by News Sources
PORTLAND -- Today Oregon District Court Judge James Redden issued an injunction to stop federal agencies from modifying summer spill from Columbia River hydroelectric dams.
Supporters of the proposal said Redden decided against the federal plan that would improve survival for fall chinook in the Columbia River basin and save Northwest electricity ratepayers up to $28 million this year.
“Today’s decision moves away from common sense salmon recovery,” said Shauna McReynolds, spokesperson for the Coalition for Smart Salmon Recovery. “This was an opportunity for more cost-effective fish recovery and the current system doesn’t seem to allow that.”
The federal spill plan was developed after months of collaboration between federal and regional agencies, and has the support of the governors of Washington, Idaho and Montana. The plan would have saved between $18 and $28 million to the federal hydrosystem, which translates to up to a 2% decrease in rates from what they would otherwise be.
The plan also included actions to offset potential adverse effects to listed and non-listed fish. NOAA Fisheries’ findings letter of July 1 stated that the Summer Spill Plan provides “the same or greater biological benefits” as current hydro operations.
“The system is broken,” said Pat Reiten, president and CEO of Coalition member PNGC Power. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get real cost-effectiveness into the formula.”
“The Coalition is in this for the long haul and will keep pushing for smarter salmon recovery,” said McReynolds.
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