Your Voice Matters: Agencies Release Columbia/Snake System EIS

February 28, 2020

Please take the opportunity to influence the future of our industry, our economy and our communities! Visit Columbia River System Operations EIS for details and to access the online comment form.

An environmental review of 14 dams on the Columbia/Snake river system released Feb. 28 recommends the four dams on the lower Snake River stay in place but that the amount of water spilled over those dams be increased to help endangered salmon.

The Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration issued the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) with a 45-day comment period that will end April 13, 2020. Public forums by teleconference have been scheduled, with the times and location at the first link above.


A final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will follow, and a formal decision is planned later in 2020.

Ted Case, executive director of the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association, welcomed the plan.

“Oregon’s electric cooperatives are pleased the (environmental assessment) recognizes the lower Snake River Dams are a critical part of the Northwest’s clean energy future,” he said. “The (plan) also concludes that breaching the dams would have adverse effects on power costs, particularly in rural counties, while putting the reliability of our electrical grid at risk.”

“We need our communities who are dependent on the dams to turn out and comment,” says Kurt Miller, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners. “You can influence the outcome.”

“It has been called the most comprehensive study in the history of the Columbia River Basin, and it will show that a balanced examination of environmental, fish and wildlife, and socioeconomic concerns has led the federal Action Agencies to recommend non-breaching alternatives,” Miller said.

“While we respect the collaborative conversations that are taking place in the region, we sincerely encourage you to champion the Lower Snake River Dams in this process,” he said. “Policy makers will be watching, and you can be certain that people who support breaching will be out in full.”

Want to add your voice to the many who speak for our energy future?

  • Visit to access the online comment form and find full details on the EIS.

Associations that follow the river review process

Northwest RiverPartners is a Vancouver-based group that represents utilities, ports, farmers and businesses (UEC is a member). Follow @nwriverpartners on social media, or visit

The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association is a non-profit trade association of ports, businesses, public agencies and individuals who support navigation, energy, trade and economic development throughout the region. The association has links to studies, press releases and news articles at

The Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association provides action alerts at to help you comment to legislators and agencies on issues critical to rural Oregonians. Look for action alerts on the river system EIS in coming weeks.

Recent News Articles and News Releases 

News Release: River Systems Operations EIS Released, Feb. 28, 2020

Oregon Electric Co-ops Pan Gov. Brown’s stance on Snake River Dams, Feb. 20, 2020

Our View: Brown supports a bad idea (removing Snake River dams)

East Oregonian, Feb. 20, 2020

Oregon governor calls for tearing out dams. Washington reps are outraged.

Tri-City Herald, Feb. 14, 2020

Editorial: Dam breaching may be hazardous to your economy

The Columbian, Jan. 13, 2020

Study: U.S. would lose over $2.3 billion by breaching lower Snake River dams

Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Jan. 6, 2020

Breaching dams could have negative impacts on vulnerable communities

East Oregonian, Dec. 31, 2019

Opinion: Hydropower is key to an equitable clean-energy future, Dec. 18, 2019