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Key Issues

Join us and maximize your voice to hold elected officials accountable and promote the importance of Oregon's electric cooperatives. Support the coordinated development of rural areas in Oregon by maintaining the affordable, reliable and clean supply of electricity you now receive from the Bonneville Power Administration. Help preserve the benefits of this low-cost federal hydropower system and preserve preference power for consumer-owned utilities. Maintain the integrity of the Oregon utility territorial laws and allocations which protect members and their investments in their electric cooperatives. And, oppose unnecessary mandates, regulations and costs.

State’s Salmon Recovery Approach Hurts Rural Oregon

The state of Oregon filed a suit last fall seeking to require another increase in the amount of spill – the water that doesn't pass through the dam's turbines – at the federally-operated Columbia and Snake River dams. This spill is in addition to the amounts in place and set by previous court rulings which is resulting in very high survival at the dams—97 percent average – of young salmon heading downstream.

Further, Washington, Montana, Idaho, most of the Northwest's tribes, and the federal agencies managing the dams have been working collaboratively to develop operating plans. Oregon has consistently resisted these collaboratively developed solutions and asked the court for veto-power over these forums. The existing spill program has been determined by objective analysis as effective. Increases in spill also may actually harm young migrating fish by through elevated levels of dissolved gases created by turbulent water. This also impacts returning adult fish which cannot find fish ladders at the dams and fall back repeatedly. More spill will actually harm fish.

Oregon's actions – spearheaded by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – consistently line up with the organization's intent on removing hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River. This stance disregards the economic value and importance of the dams to rural Oregonians. Ironically, ODF&W consistently takes an anti-dam position based on dire claims about the state of the Columbia and Snake River anadromous fish runs. At the same time, ODF&W strongly promotes the bountiful fish populations available to sports fishers and urges them to purchase fishing licenses to capitalize on the opportunity to catch fish. We believe ODF&W talks out of both sides of its mouth on the state of the region's salmon populations.

We expect the letter being developed by Oregon legislators will urge the governor to take action to bring ODF&W into the Northwest's collaborative approach to protect these important fish populations. Having a large number of legislators signing that letter will demonstrate strong support for bringing Oregon to a more balanced position.