February 4, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

State Department of Ecology wades into Columbia-Snake river dam debate, proposing more water spill

The state Department of Ecology (DOE) announced last week it plans to pursue action to address survival of juvenile salmon through increased water spill over the eight Columbia and Snake river hydroelectric dams. The agency points to Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2019-21 operating budget as its authority to move ahead with the proposal as part of the orca recovery efforts. This announcement comes despite the fact that the dams are overseen by the federal government.

The DOE will hold two hearings on the proposal. The first takes place Feb. 13 at the Washington State School for the Blind, Fries Auditorium, 2214 East 13th Street in Vancouver, Wash. The other takes place via webinar on Feb.19.

“This is a big deal,” said Heather Bartlett, head of Ecology’s water-quality division, told The Seattle Times. “We want for the first time to have parity at federal dams with the nonfederal dams. They are either meeting state standards, or they have set up a strategy to meet them.”

The agency calls the proposal a “short-term modification” to cool the water temperatures.

However, Ritchie Graves, head of the hydropower division for the West Coast region at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the Snake River historically hits temperatures nearing 79 degrees in the summer at its confluence with the Columbia. “What can be done with the dams in place today to modify temperature already is being done,” he told the newspaper.

Dam advocates criticized DOE’s proposal, saying more gas bubbles in the water from the increased spill will do more harm than good for juvenile salmon.

“The fish would get no rest in the amount of exposure (to total dissolved gas),” Jim Litchfield, with Northwest RiverPartners, which represents agriculture and commerce groups that support dam operations, told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

More information on the proposal can be found on DOE’s blog.

For more information on this issue, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Peter Godlewski at 360.943.1600.

« Back to Main
Supporting Manufacturers
Advocating for Employers

Bridging the divide between Washington state and D.C.

By AWB President Kris Johnson

On a map, the distance from our Washington to the "other" Washington looks so far away. But, policies being made and debated there hit us here in Washington state.

Take trade policies, for example.

As one of the most trade-driven states in the nation, what happens with trade agreements has a direct impact on Washington state's economy.

A recent report found that Washington farmers and other export-dependent producers saw their foreign sales drop by as much as 28 percent during the six months after the United States began imposing tariffs on trading partners.

That's one reason why the Association of Washington Business and its members have become more engaged than ever on the national front. In fact, AWB staff and 25 business owners and leaders recently returned from the association's fifth D.C. Fly-in...

Read the full guest column in The Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business
Hydropower Is Crucial

The Snake River dams fill a power gap. Lawmakers need to know that

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Saying we don't need the four lower Snake River dams because they generate just a small percentage of the region's electricity is a bit like saying the Seattle Mariners don't need relief pitchers who are in the game for only an inning or two.

The dams, like a closing pitcher, are needed for their reliability and to fill in during critical times.

As lawmakers consider Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal to make Washington 100 percent carbon free, we hope they grasp the role hydropower plays in providing clean, renewable, low-cost power to the region

We also hope they come to understand the essential role the Snake River dams play in the power-generating system...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
Upcoming Events