I welcome your feedback on this concept. Thoughts and comments can be sent to Simpson.firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR LEARNING PROCESS
• In the last three years, my staff and I have held over 300 meetings with stakeholders, tribes, elected representatives and other interests trying to understand and break down the issues relating to the ongoing litigation, studies, appeals, biops, spill and other conflicts creating regional uncertainty related to salmon recovery, dams, energy and transportation.
• We met with representatives from these Northwest interests:
o Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)
• In these meetings, we asked the “what if” questions. What if the four Lower Snake River Dams (4 LSRDs) were breached:
1) How would each group be affected?
2) Could the benefits they currently receive from the 4 LSRDs be replaced so they could continue their operations with certainty and security under their own terms?
3) Could we roughly estimate how expensive it might be to replace the benefits?
THE UNSUSTAINABLE STATUS QUO
• The Northwest seems to be caught in a status quo of fighting over salmon and the 4 LSR dams through lawsuits, biops, EIS’s, appeals, spill, press releases etc. that have outcomes that generally pick winners and losers. It is a cycle that appears never-ending with neither side gaining leverage over the other anytime soon. Either the salmon will go extinct or the courts or some other body will step in and take drastic unilateral action.
• In the last 30 years, the Northwest has spent over $17 billion on fish recovery efforts and yet we have more salmon and steelhead runs listed under the ESA today than we did in 1980.
• After breaking these recurring issues down into their smallest components, we found that almost all issues are connected or interrelated in some manner. Any action taken in one category is almost certain to have an effect on one, some, or all of the other categories.
• I also found that the discussion seems to be generally branded as a question of “salmon or dams?”
• I believe that question is too simple and does not accurately capture all of the issues and interests that are involved that must be recognized and accounted for, and also does not capture the current state of Idaho salmon.
The questions I believe we should be asking are:
Are the 4 LSRDs beneficial?
Are Idaho’s salmon doing well?
THE 4 LSR DAMS PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS THAT WOULD BE VERY EXPENSIVE TO REPLACE
• To the question of whether the 4 LSRDs are good or bad, in our 300 meetings, it has been made clear to me that the 4 LSRDs provide significant benefits for energy, transportation, agriculture and communities.
o They provide clean, low cost, renewable hydropower that is on-demand and helps to balance the transmission system.
o They allow barges to reach all the way from Portland to Lewiston-Clarkston. Barges provide the lowest cost method to ship agricultural and other products up and down the river and they help reduce the overall carbon footprint of alternative rail and trucking.
o Barging provides our agricultural farmers (especially grain) with a low cost option that prevents them from becoming captive shippers to rail and trucking. They are a critical component in getting our agricultural products overseas. Ice Harbor Dam also provides farmers with significant irrigation opportunities.
o Our communities in the Lewis Clark Valley and the Tri-Cities benefit greatly through economic activity at the ports, tourism and recreational opportunities.
• Without question, the 4 LSRDs provide significant benefits that would be very expensive to replace if the dams were breached.
IDAHO’S WILD SALMON AND STEELHEAD ARE NOT DOING WELL
• I have had many discussions with biologists and other fish managers, and I believe Idaho’s salmon and steelhead are not doing well when compared to their past historic numbers and when compared against other salmon runs in the Northwest. All of Idaho’s wild steelhead and salmon are listed as threatened or endangered.
• We found there are several variables that directly affect all Northwest wild salmon: oceans, habitat, dams, predators, harvest and hatcheries, to name a few.
• It became apparent to me that the three most significant variables harming Idaho’s salmon are:
1. Poor ocean conditions cause all salmon great difficulty. Not enough salmon are returning from the ocean as in the past.
2. Global warming/climate change is leading to warmer Northwest rivers and reservoirs which provides significant strains on our salmon. I expect this to continue, or worsen, for the coming decades.
3. Lastly, the 4 LSRDs appear to be 4 dams too many for Idaho salmon to negotiate as they make their 900-mile trek to central Idaho.
• I am told by scientists that salmon on the John Day River in Oregon- which negotiate three dams have a smolt to adult return (SAR) ratio of greater than 4%, which is what Snake River salmon need to achieve recovery goals;
• The mainstem Columbia River salmon go through four dams and their SAR is also roughly 3-4%;
• However, wild Idaho salmon that transit eight dams (four Columbia and four Snake River) have a SAR of roughly 1%, which I am told is below replacement and on a trajectory towards extinction.
Idaho’s salmon are not doing well today, and I see no signs that ocean conditions or the climate will improve fast enough in the coming decades to avoid extinction. While I cannot be certain that removing the 4 LSRDs will bring back Idaho’s salmon, I am certain that if we do not remove them, our salmon and steelhead are on a certain path to extinction.
A NORTHWEST “OPPORTUNITY” FOR A NORTHWEST SOLUTION
•The Northwest may have a unique opportunity to craft our own solution in a way resources can be made available to each interest group so that they can develop their own solution to these difficult issues. We may be able to allow stakeholders to create their own certainty and security for today and future generations.
First, the Northwest has seniority in Congress that we have not seen since the days of Magnuson, Jackson, Foley, Packwood, Hatfield, Church, and McClure:
• Senator Murray is the number two Democrat in the Senate,
• Senator Cantwell will be chair of the Senate Commerce Committee,
• Rep. Peter DeFazio is chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,
• Senators Wyden and Crapo are chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee,
• Senator Risch is ranking on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
• Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
•Rep. Simpson serves as the ranking member of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.
Second, President Biden has announced he may be presenting a national clean energy stimulus bill later this year that may be in the $2-3 trillion dollar range. The concept I am proposing below would be 1-2% of that total package.
Washington Post 1/8/21: Biden assembling multitrillion-dollar stimulus-“Biden is also likely to push for a larger legislative effort later in 2021 after the initial stimulus package. That effort is expected to focus on spending trillions of dollars on infrastructure and clean-energy jobs.”
OUR OWN PATH FORWARD?
• The question I am asking the Northwest delegation, governors, tribes and stakeholders is “do we want to roll up our sleeves and come together to find a solution to save our salmon, protect our stakeholders and reset our energy system for the next 50 plus years on our terms?”
• Passing on this opportunity will mean we are letting the chips fall where they may for some judge, future administration or future congress to decide our fate on their terms. They will be picking winners and losers, not creating solutions.
• The following pages are a “concept” I have outlined as a possible path forward for the Northwest to transition to a better place that ends the salmon wars, protects all stakeholders on their terms and resets the energy landscape in the Northwest, so we maximize the benefits of the Bonneville System and our abundant renewable solar, wind and hydro and give our salmon a much better chance at recovery.
We can create our own solution on our own terms.
BREACHING 4 LOWER SNAKE RIVER DAMS
REMOVING EARTHEN BERMS AND SEDIMENT
Up to $1.4B
Army Corps Contracting
Physical Concrete Structures Remain (Mothball Status)
Sediment Dredging and Disposition Prior to Breaching
All Related Federal Regulations, Reviews and Permits Waived and Expedited (excluding safety)
1. Lower Granite Dam- $400M Summer/Fall of 2030
2. Little Goose Dam- $350M Summer/Fall 2030
3. Lower Monumental Dam- $350M Summer/Fall 2031
4. Ice Harbor Dam- $300M Summer/Fall 2031
Army Corps of Engineers shall monitor and study the effects of sediment loading and flows downstream to the Columbia River Estuary. Mitigation payments for any downstream damage caused to public or private entities
|SEDIMENT MITIGATION FUND Up to $400M
LOWER SNAKE RIVER CORRIDOR RESTORATION FUND
Up to $75M
LOWER SNAKE RIVER CORRIDOR CULTURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION FUND
Allow recognized tribes to protect, preserve and mitigate any cultural and historic resources that may be affected, exposed, harmed, damaged, removed or altered because of the breaching of the Four Lower Snake River Dams.
LOWER SNAKE RIVER CORRIDOR ROAD AND RAIL STUDY AND MITIGATION
Washington State Department of Transportation to study Mitigating Effects of Drawdown on Road and Rail
Up to $300M
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, THE ENERGY MUST BE REPLACED
4 LOWER SNAKE RIVER DAMS ENERGY REPLACEMENT
BPA or another entity will receive up to $10B in a direct grant as firm clean power replacement (through an RFP process) for 4 LSR Dams lost generation
(i.e.- renewable to battery storage, pump storage, hydrogen storage, small modular reactors, increased transmission capacity, demand response, energy efficiency or any other means as determined by BPA and the NW Power and Conservation Council.)
Projects can be sited throughout the Northwest (OR/WA/ID/MT) for optimized efficiency.
Replacement generation must be built and online by 2030 prior to breaching.
Three Possibilities for Energy Replacement:
1. BPA owns and operates the firm power replacement;
2. A third-party Northwest entity owns and operates the replacement power;
3. Other Ideas?
SALMON SPILL- BPA POWER REPLACEMENT
BPA or another entity will receive up to $4 billion in a direct grant as "salmon spill replacement generation" to build new generation to replace lost hyrdo generation at the 4 Lower Columbia River System dams caused by spill to benefit salmon.
Generation shall be non-carbon power and sourced through an RFP process.
POST BREACH (2030) - Total spill for salmon at Lower Columbia dams, during the spring season = 125% Total Dissolved Gas at McNary, John Day and The Dalles Dams and up to 150kcfs at Bonneville Dam.
This spill operation will be covered by:
• Up to $4B replacement power for Lower Columbia River spill
• Up to $10B replacement power for Lower Snake River breach (see Lower Snake River dams replacement power)
INTERIM UNTIL FINAL BREACH (2030) - From legislative enactment until final breach (2030), total spill for salmon at Lower Columbia and Lower Snake dams, during the spring season = 125% TDG at McNary, John Day and The Dalles and up to 150kcfs at Bonneville Dam and 125% TDG at Lower Granite, Lower Monumental and Ice Harbor and 2020 operation at Little Goose Dam (125 flex).
This interim spill operation shall be paid for by:
Power purchases with 4(h)(10)(c) credits (of the difference between the above operation and 2020 flex spill operation)
SUMMER SPILL- Summer spill operations are status quo-type operations.
GRID SECURITY - At no time following enactment of this legislation shall salmon spill operations prevent BPA from meeting Northwest load requirements. Generation will not drop below Fish Passage Plan minimum
generation. (“Minimum Generation” is “the minimum number of megawatts (MW) that must be generated at each project in order to support power system reliability”).
Reallocation of funding allowed- Funding for the 4 LSRDs Replacement Power ($10B) and Salmon Spill Replacement Power ($4B) may be allocated or reallocated in any manner necessary to carry out the intentions above.
NORTHWEST TRANSMISSION RESILIENCY AND OPTIMIZATION
Northwest Transmission Resiliency and Security, Resource Adequacy Planning and Transmission Development and Optimization
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, COLUMBIA AND SNAKE RIVER BASIN DAMS MUST BE LOCKED IN AND THERE MUST BE A SALMON LITIGATION MORATORIUM
Upon the breaching of the fourth dam in 2031, all Public and Private FERC Licensed dams in the Columbia River Basin greater than 5 MW (that have produced power for sale in 3 of the last 5 years) will receive an automatic 35-year extension of their license in addition to their currently licensed period with the total maximum extension length not to exceed 50 years. (Eliminates the “slippery slope” argument that “if you allow them to remove these 4 dams they will go after the other mainstem Columbia River Dams and others.”)
Locking in Dams- 35 Year Hydro License Extensions
Ending Lawsuits- 35 Year Dam Litigation Moratorium
Litigation related to anadromous fish under the ESA, NEPA, and the CWA for the fourteen federal Columbia River System dams, the 12 federal projects on the Upper Snake River, and all FERC-licensed dams within the Columbia Basin greater than 5 MW (that have produced power for sale in 3 of the last 5 years) shall be immediately halted with legislation and all litigation shall be stayed for a period of 35 years. (excluding safety)
Dam Mitigation and Indemnification Program
• Public and private owners of nonoperational, marginal or high expense dams or diversions (both hydro or irrigation) within the Columbia Basin may voluntarily terminate and/or remove their generation and dam or diversion structure or reengineer their irrigation diversion. (i.e. Enloe Dam- Okanagan PUD)
• An incentive fund in the amount of $500 million will be provided from the Columbia Basin Fund for dam or diversion entities to voluntarily remove or mitigate their river structure.
• Additionally, a dam removal indemnification fund of $500 million will be created from the Columbia Basin Fund that will provide liability protection (indemnification) for irrigation districts, energy interests or any other entities that own a dam or other engineering structure that impedes the movement of fish. Any affected irrigation interests must be protected from any loss of water diversion.
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, AGRICULTURE MUST BE MADE PARTNERS IN REGIONWIDE WATERSHED IMPROVEMENT WITH CERTAIN FUNDING AND PROTECTION FROM LAWSUITS
WATERSHED PARTNERSHIPS- $3B
Revitalizing Salmon Habitat, Rivers and Streams
Snake River Basin Watershed Partnerships
Willamette Basin Watershed Partnerships
Columbia Basin Watershed Partnerships
Puget Sound Watershed Partnerships
Washington Coastal Watershed Partnerships
Oregon Coastal Watershed Partnerships
Montana Watershed Partnerships
• 25-year voluntary watershed working groups will be created between agriculture, conservationists and tribes to improve and enhance water quality, temperature and quantity in the Columbia Basin.
• Within each basin there will be regional partnerships created to identify, develop and implement high value voluntary watershed/water quality improvement projects.
• Agriculture interests within the Columbia Basin watershed participating in the partnership program will receive a 25-year exemption from all Clean Water Act or ESA lawsuits related to water issues in their basin. No exemption for “bad actors”.
• The State Departments of Agriculture and Resources in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana will oversee this program in their respective states.
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, AGRICULTURE/DAIRIES/CAFOs MUST BE GIVEN CERTAIN FUNDING FOR ENHANCED NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT ($1.6B)
Animal Waste Research and Development
Grants to the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University, Montana State University - $100M each for research and development of advanced animal waste digestors or other processes to convert manure, and other animal waste into biofuel, bioenergy and other products to assist in preventing animal waste from entering water systems.
Columbia, Snake and Willamette Basins Animal Waste Management Incentives
$1.2B to provide incentives or grants to private, corporate or cooperative entities for manure digestors/waste containment systems for dairy and confined animal operations that will directly assist in preventing or reducing nutrient and other animal discharge into the Snake, Willamette and Columbia Basins.
Columbia Basin (WA)
Willamette/Columbia/Snake Basin (OR)
Snake River Basin (ID)
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED COMMUNITIES MUST BE PROTECTED WITH CERTAIN RESOURCES FOR NEW MISSIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Lewiston-Clarkston Waterfront Restoration
Snake River Center for Advanced Energy Storage
PNNL led DOE Program with mission to develop advanced energy storage methods to capture abundant Northwest hydro/wind/solar on a system wide basis.
• Co-located: PNNL (headquarters) with Lewiston-Clarkston Research Park/ Technology campus.
• PNNL will lead a consortium of Northwest higher education:
• Siting, Development and Construction in Lewiston-Clarkston- $250M
• Research & Development and University Grants- $350M
• Technology Innovation Center/ Partnership Grants - $500M
• Infrastructure Development Fund- $150M
Economic Development Fund - Tri-Cities Area
Economic Development Fund - Lewiston-Clarkston Area
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, WE MUST PROVIDE CERTAIN FUNDING FOR TOURISM AND RECREATION
Designating a Lower Snake River National Recreation Area that creates family friendly accessible recreation and tourism (jet boating, rafting, camping, fishing, hunting etc.).
(BLM Administered- with Tribal Participation)
Lower Snake River Recreation Fund
BLM/State of Washington
Lower Snake River Tourism Promotion
State of Washington (Tri-Cities/Spokane Area)
Lower Snake River Tourism Promotion
State of Idaho (Lewiston-Clarkston Area)
Impacted Sportfishing Contingency Fund
Up to $75M
Marina Relocation Fund
Up to $50M
Recreational Boating Compensation Fund
Up to $50M
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, WE MUST PROVIDE CERTAIN FUNDING FOR IRRIGATORS
Lower Snake River Corridor
Up to $750M in funding to carry out any planning reconfiguring, reengineering, extending, moving, deepening or any other structural changes required to any affected irrigation intake, outflow, well or other structure related to irrigation, water delivery or discharge in the Ice Harbor Dam area or within the Lower Snake River Corridor.
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, WE MUST PROVIDE CERTAIN FUNDING FOR OUR FARMERS AND AGRICULTURAL HANDLERS
Funding for Farmers to Reconfigure/Adjust Their Lower Snake River Corridor Grain Transportation (Grain Farmers)
LSR Corridor Agricultural Handler Reconfiguration/Adjustment
LSR Corridor Ports Including Lewiston-Clarkston-Wilma Reconfiguration/Adjustment
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, WE MUST PROVIDE CERTAIN RESOURCES FOR OUR SNAKE RIVER TRANSPORTATION NETWORK
Barge Transport Expansion- Tri-Cities/Mid-Columbia Basin Intermodal Transportation Hub
Expanding and reconfiguring the Tri-Cities area ports so that they can become an even larger regional hub/destination for increased barging (agriculture, commodities and containers) with the goal of putting more annual barging tonnage on the Columbia River than exists today.
LSR Corridor Waterway Shippers (Bargers/Riverboats)
Barging Reconfiguration/Economic Adjustment Payments
Lower Columbia River Lock Rehab/Backlog Maintenance/Dredging/Maritime Restoration
IF THE 4 LSRDs ARE REMOVED, WE MUST PROTECT COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIES
COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY FUND
Lewiston-Clarkston Industrial Pipe Re-engineering and Possible Odor Curtailment Up to $275M
PROVIDING BPA WITH NEEDED AUTHORITIES AND CERTAINTY TO ENHANCE THEIR BALANCE SHEET AND RELIABILITY
BPA RECEIVES CLEAN FIRM POWER REPLACEMENT FOR 4 LOWER SNAKE RIVER DAMS
(i.e- renewable to battery storage, pump storage, small modular reactors, increased transmission capacity, demand response or any other means as determined by BPA and
the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.)
BPA RECEIVES “SALMON SPILL” REPLACEMENT POWER
BPA or another entity will be given funding to create new replacement generation equal to compensate for power purchase and foregone revenue lost from salmon spill.
NORTHWEST GRID RESILIENCY AND OPTIMIZATION
BPA BORROWING AUTHORITY INCREASED TO $15 BILLION
(From Current $7.7B)
• Consider structured borrowed authority increases;
• Replacing regional cooperation debt with new borrowing authority to get lower cost treasury rate for power and transmission.
• Provide power and transmission each with a treasury line of credit ($1B) to replace financial reserves policy;
• Other debt financing enhancements?
DEAUTHORIZING ALL OR SELECT WILLAMETTE DAMS (COUGAR, DETROIT, BIG CLIFF, ETC.?)
BPA LEGACY IRRIGATION COSTS 4(h)(10)(C) Eligible
BPA REMOVED FROM ALL FISH MANAGEMENT DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
BPA FISH MITIGATION MET WITH ONE ANNUAL PAYMENT OF
$600M/Y WITH A $120M/Y FISH CREDIT = NET $480M/Y Capped Fish Costs
• BPA WILL RECEIVE:
• 20% 4(h)(10)(C) CREDITS FOR $600M ANNUAL CAPPED DIRECT PAYMENT TO NWSTFC
• 100% 4(h)(10)(C) CREDITS FOR Fish & Wildlife PROGRAM FIXED EXPENSES
• 100% 4(h)(10)(C) CREDITS FOR OF SPILL COSTS THROUGH 2030 (Not Forgone Revenue)
• POST 2030 BPA USES $4B NEW GENERATION TO REPLACE LOST SALMON SPILL GENERATION GOING FORWARD
• ANNUAL INFLATION INCREASES
PENDING NORTHWEST POWER ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED
• Residential Exchange Program (ResEx) is the BPA rebate that investor-owned utility (IOU) customers receive on their monthly power bill. The current ResEx settlement terminates in 2028. It leaves uncertainty for all parties. Now may be the time to discuss new terms for the program that more accurately reflect the current state of the Northwest energy system and allocates benefits that are more reflective of the financial health of BPA and the equitable distribution of the “BPA benefit” to all non-preferred Northwest customers.
• The Northwest needs to have a very open an honest discussion among all energy sectors and BPA about creating a new Northwest Regional Transmission Organization/Independent System Operator that is FERC Jurisdictional. It should be inclusive of all Northwest energy entities and power interests.
NORTHWEST POWER COUNCIL
NORTHWEST POWER COUNCIL ENERGY ROLE EXPANDED
• The Northwest Power and Conservation Council should have an expanded role in Northwest energy planning with a greater emphasis on becoming the recognized, credible, and objective hub for regional power planning information and analysis to ensure resource adequacy and grid reliability in the Northwest.
• The Power Council will administer an independent resource adequacy monitoring program that will:
o Collect Data as part of data reporting requirements from generation and transmission.
o Perform RA Analysis Modeling
o Create a report to the Governors, energy sector, and public on annual basis with additional long-term forecasting.
• Funding for the Power Council will be borne by all Northwest power customers, through BPA and the Residential Exchange Program.
NORTHWEST POWER COUNCIL FISH RECOVERY ROLE CHANGED
• All fish and wildlife duties of the Power Council shall be turned over to states and tribes through the Northwest State and Tribal Fish and Wildlife Council.
Columbia Basin Tribes and States Become Co-Equal Primary Northwest Fish Managers
Columbia Basin Tribes
• Joint Fish Recovery Operations
•Joint Invasive Species Control
•Joint Predator Control
•Joint Science and Monitoring
• Cooperating with Federal Fish and Wildlife Agencies
• Working with Northwest Congressional Delegation to Increase Federal Salmon Appropriations
NWSTFC Receives Annual Capped BPA Fish Mitigation Payment$600M/Y- (3 POTS)
• Block Grant States $123M (3x Current- $40m/y cap)
• Block Grant Columbia Basin Tribes $215M (2x Current- $40/m/y cap)
• Joint Fish Council Funding for Operations $262M
Priority Salmon Fisheries Infrastructure Backlog
Upper Snake and Columbia Basin Restored Non-Protected Salmon Runs (No ESA Protections)$700M
Salmon Conservation Corps
Hells Canyon Sturgeon Protection
Yakima Basin Integrated Plan
THE TIME IS NOW FOR THE NORTHWEST
• I have found that replacing the benefits of the 4 LSRDs would be very expensive at a minimum of $33.5B. However, this may prove to be a bargain when compared to what it may cost in out-of-pocket dollars for fish recovery and future costs put on stakeholders.
• Despite spending over $17 billion on fish recovery efforts, Idaho salmon and steelhead numbers are not improving and will continue to get worse. Will we spend $20 billion more in the next 30 years only to have them go extinct anyway? The worse they get, the more we will spend.
• With the climate warming, will we have less snowpack in the mountains leading to drier and warmer rivers and reservoirs in the summer with significant effects on stakeholders?
• We are unable to see into the future and those questions reflect the uncertainty that everyone says they want to avoid yet could result in tens of billions of dollars in economic costs and hardships.
• Most of us saw what happened to Northwest timber communities that were devastated by the spotted owl wars. Is this our opportunity to avoid much of the social and economic pain and suffering that afflicted the timber families and communities when the mills closed, and the logging jobs were lost?
• I want to be very clear; I have not drafted legislation and I am not currently drafting legislation. A concept like this will take all the Northwest delegation, governors, tribes, and stakeholders working together to draft a solution. It will be no easy task and on a very tight timeline.
• It would be a tragedy if future generations looked back and wished that we current Northwest leaders and stakeholders would have at least taken the time to explore this opportunity to develop our own Northwest solution to protect stakeholders and save salmon.