Take Action to Protect Our Hydropower
As a valued member of Flathead Electric Cooperative, we are asking you to get involved in the important federal process currently taking place to analyze the Northwest’s hydropower system.
What is the CRSO DEIS?
The Columbia River System Operations Draft Environmental Impact Statement (CRSO DEIS) was released on February 28, 2020. It’s a comprehensive government analysis of the Northwest’s federally-operated hydro system. As part of the analysis, federal agencies were tasked with examining the lower Snake River dams—specifically, their impact on salmon and what purpose they serve for our region.
What was the outcome?
The study considered a range of preferred alternatives, including breaching all four dams. In the draft conclusion, the agencies recommended a combination of the alternatives to help communities and fish and wildlife.
They also found that dam breaching was not the best alternative for our region. Loss of the lower Snake River dams would increase blackout risk, cost billions and directly impact vulnerable communities with rising power costs. As a customer of the Bonneville Power Administration, which relies on the energy generated by these dams, Flathead Electric Co-op’s members would be directly impacted.
The current timeline includes a 45-day public comment period which ends on April 13, 2020. After the comment period, the federal agencies will review the comments, make adjustments and then issue a final EIS by June 30, 2020. The federal agency heads will each issue a formal Record of Decision by September 30, 2020.
Why is it critical to act now?
While the federal agencies did not recommend the dam breaching alternative in their draft, a lot can change between now and the final decision later this year. If there is not strong public support in favor of the lower Snake River dams, the agencies could reconsider their position.
Submit your comments by April 13 in support of our dams and hydropower!
- Learn more about the issue. Here are some resources you can use to help draft your comments:
- Review the letter FEC General Manager Mark Johnson submitted: FEC CRSO Written Comments (PDF)
- Visit the Northwest River Partners webpage.
- Review the March issue of LightREADING which discussed the potential of power shortages in the Northwest (removal of the Lower Snake River Dams would significantly increase this risk).
- Review Your Co-op’s hydropower advantage webpage
- Provide public comment in support of dams and against their removal by April 13 at the CRSO comments website.