Chelan PUD goes on record opposing removal of Snake River dams

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Chelan PUD has become the latest public utility in Washington to officially oppose the removal of the four Snake River dams.

PUD commissioners Monday were unanimous in their opposition.

This year, the state Legislature approved spending $750,000 to study the effects on Washington if the dams were removed.

Governor Jay Inslee had sought the study as part of a plan to aid the dwindling population of Orca whales.

The dams have long been the target of environmental groups concerned about fish runs.

But any decision on removing them rests with the federal government.

PUD commissioner Randy Smith said even though Chelan PUD does not receive its power from Snake River dams, the area still has a stake in the issue.

“There’s a minor direct impact,” Smith said. “We got a preview of that this spring when there was a price spike because of the lack of firm power available.”

He said removal of the dams would likely have repercussions for this region “in ways we don’t yet begin to understand.”