“PORTLAND, Ore. — A long-awaited federal report out Friday rejected the idea of removing four hydroelectric dams on a major Pacific Northwest river in a last-ditch effort to save threatened and endangered salmon, saying such a dramatic approach would destabilize the power grid, increase overall greenhouse emissions and more than double the risk of regional power outages.
The four dams on the lower Snake River are part of a vast and complex hydroelectric power system operated by the federal government in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The massive dams, built in eastern Washington between 1961 and 1975, are at the center of a years-long battle that pits the fate of two iconic Pacific Northwest species — the salmon and the killer whale — against the need for plentiful, carbon-free power for the booming region.
Environmental groups that have pushed for years for the dams to come down immediately blasted the report. The three agencies in charge of overseeing the sprawling hydropower system recommended an alternative that doubles down on an approach that includes spilling more water over the dams when juvenile salmon are migrating — a tactic already being used.”