Snake River Dams

Scott Church
Saving Snake River Water and Salmon Simultaneously
Blumm et al., 1998
This 1998 study from the journal Environmental Law comprehensively reviews the major scientific and economic research regarding the impacts of the Snake River dams, and the benefits of breaching them. Its conclusions are every bit as relevant today as they were when it was first published.
Generating Electric Power in the Pacific Northwest: Implications of Alternative Technologies
RAND, 2002
In 2002 the Rand Corporation published what may be the most complete study to date of the economics of Snake dam breaching. The report is significant not only for its completeness and breadth of analysis, but because Rand is one of the most respective think tanks in the world and is centrist. In fact, most of their previous work on similar issues is slightly Right leaning if anything. Far-Right pro-dam advocates who wish to dismiss all thorough dam breaching economic impact studies as "liberal propaganda" will find their work cut out for them on this one.
Going With the Flow: Replacing Energy from Four Snake River Dams
Here is yet another study on the impacts of breaching the Lower Snake River dams - this one from the Natural Resources Defense Council. This report, which was released in April of 2000 analyzes the costs and air pollution consequences of removing the four dams and replacing the electricity they generate with energy from other sources. Like most other independent scientific and economic studies on dam removal, the study finds that energy from the dams can be replaced affordably for residential electricity users without increasing air pollution. The NRDC extensively reviewed the Bonneville Power Administrations costs and power delivery options, direct and proxy impacts on commercial and residential ratepayers, and the potential contributions and impacts of a variety of other alternatives. They found that loss of the 4 dams would at worst raise residential power rates by no more than $3 per month without significantly contributing to pollution, and still leave the BPA with generation costs among the lowest of any power marketer in the nation.
Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement. Final report, Feb. 2002
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers: Walla Walla Dist.
This is the year 2002 analysis of management alternatives for the Lower Snake River salmon runs covering by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District. Included is an economic impact assessment (Appendix I) that is commonly cited by pro-dam advocates as proof of that breaching the four Snake dams in Washington State would be economically devastating. The analysis has been widely faulted for neglecting a number of important economic factors. An overview of these problems is presented in the year 200 ECONorthwest report linked below.
National Economic Analysis of the Four Lower Snake River Dams
Earth Economics, Feb. 2016
This Feb. 2016 report from Tacoma-based Earth Economics reviews the benefits and costs of the four Lower Snake River dams in both “keep dam” and “breach dam” scenarios for the Snake River, including the indirect benefits for navigation and power and additional credits for the use of "cheap" hydroelectric power over coal-fired plants. It concludes that not only are the benefits created by the four dams outweighed by the costs of keeping them, with the possible exception of navigation and irrigation water supply, the current benefits would not be lost, but rather increased, if the dams were breached.


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