After it was revealed this week that California was yet again fearing the integrity of its electrical grid due to excessive heat and recommending that residents cut back on power consumption which included not charging electric vehicles, many viewed the Golden State as a cautionary tale.
California has neglected its infrastructure for decades. State officials have not built cisterns to hold rainwater, even as drought conditions follow year after year. Nor have they built dams that could also help with water management and irrigation for crops while providing power using hydroelectricity.
Additionally, Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s aging power lines have caused more than 1,500 California wildfires in the last decade, including the deadliest blaze in the state's history.
There is also an ongoing battle over a plan to close the San Luis Obispo Diablo Canyon nuclear plant which supplies energy to millions of Californians. The plant is also nearing the end of its service life.
Despite the rolling blackouts and other infrastructure problems, last week, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom, announced a ban on the sale of gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. The electric vehicles would put an increased burden on the already strained power grid.
Yet, Washington State’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray want to follow California’s disastrous example.
The pair have been advocating for breaching the lower Snake River federal hydroelectric dams in Washington state which provide power not just to Washington but nearby states as well including California.
Their goal is to help grow salmon populations which according to the Washington Policy Center is already on the rise.
Additionally, Inslee followed Newsom’s lead last week and is also banning the sale of gas-powered cars in Washington state by 2035.
Last Thursday, Inslee, and Murray released a report on the feasibility of breaching the lower Snake River dams. Even their biased inaccurate report stated that the dam services such as power needed to be replaced before they could even consider breaching the dams.
In July, The Biden administration released two reports supporting breaching four dams on the lower Snake River, but critics claimed the administration was “cherry picking” data to support the plan.
Washington Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse, Jaime Herrera Beutler, together with representatives from Idaho, Montana and Oregon said in response, “The Biden administration is talking a big game on carbon goals while simultaneously engaging in actions to undermine valuable clean, affordable, and renewable power resources on the Columbia River System, thus compromising energy stability across the region.”
Todd Myers from the Washington Policy Center noted, "Unfortunately, while Puget Sound and the Washington coast receive about $100 million a year in salmon recovery funding, the proposal to destroy the Snake River dams is $33.5 billion – 335 years’ worth of funding at current levels for one stretch of river where salmon populations are already moving in the right direction."
He continued, "Washington state has the lowest electricity rates in the country, largely due to our extremely efficient and low-cost hydroelectric power. Additionally, the Snake River dams play an important role in keeping our grid stable. Unlike other CO2-free sources of energy like wind, solar, and nuclear, Snake River dams can adjust power production to meet fluctuating demand during the day. Without them, it would be more difficult to meet changing demands during the day, and Washington state would have to rely on natural gas generation. This is why the NW Energy Coalition, which supports destruction of the dams, admits that removing the dams would increase Washington state’s CO2 emissions."
Myers added, "The four lower Snake River dams produce more energy than all the wind turbines and solar panels in Washington state combined. Imagine if someone suggested removing every wind turbine and solar panel in the state. That is what is being proposed."