Northwest RiverPartners issued the following release today ahead of President Biden’s trip to the Pacific Northwest:
In President Biden’s first trip to Oregon and Washington since taking office, he is expected to emphasize the importance of keeping energy costs low and reaffirm his commitment to fighting climate change. These are goals we share.
Both objectives are critical as this region, along with the rest of the country, has been hard hit by inflationary pressures for staples, such as food, housing, and energy costs. At the same time, Northwesterners are also highly aware of the threat climate change poses to public safety and environmental health after last year’s record-breaking heatwave resulted in hundreds of deaths across the Pacific Northwest.
Hydropower is the workhorse of the Northwest’s energy infrastructure and provides safe, reliable, affordable, carbon-free energy. We can’t achieve our multiple policy objectives without it.
It is noteworthy that the White House Council on Environmental Quality is leading an effort that is considering the removal of highly productive hydroelectric dams that provide enough zero-carbon electricity to power all the homes of Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Boise combined. Losing those dams could raise electricity rates for customers by up to 25% or more across the region and increase greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 million to 4.3 million metric tons of CO2 per year.
Biden’s visit coincides with Earth Day, with a 2022 theme entitled “Invest in Our Planet.” Dam breaching would invest in the opposite, setting the Northwest backwards in its decarbonization and electrification goals.
We urge President Biden and his administration to recognize the incredible value of our hydropower resources, to connect the dots between dams and his agenda on clean and affordable energy and to support a stronger and more resilient grid, and a just domestic economy.
About Northwest RiverPartners
Northwest RiverPartners (NWRP) is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization. It represents not-for-profit, community-owned utilities across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada. MWRP also represents farmers, ports, and businesses across the region that support clean energy and low-carbon transportation.