Comment from Smith, Laurie A.
To the members of the NPCC: Thank you for the opportunity to provide my input on the 6th Power Plan. The 6th Power Plan is, in many respects, a good plan. It's proposal to meet all new demand for electricity in the Northwest with conservation and renewables is excellent. Unfortunately, due to the realities of global warming and endangered salmon, the 6th Plan must go further and move faster. The Council must be a strong leader to craft a bright future for our region that includes more wild salmon and less carbon pollution. Here are several specific suggestions: (1) The Final Plan Needs to Increase Energy Conservation: We have plenty of untapped conservation potential in the region and the 6th Plan must call for getting even more energy conservation than the Draft Plan targets. The Plan's modest conservation goal for the plan's first five years would cost Northwest families and businesses $2 billion in missed savings opportunities. (2) The Final Plan Needs to Chart a Clear Course for Salmon Recovery: Scientists conclude that removing the four lower Snake River dams is the best and likely the only way to bring endangered Northwest salmon back from the brink of extinction. The Council has a legal responsibility to protect fish and wildlife harmed by the power system. The Final 6th Power Plan should reflect the finding by the Council's own staff that replacing the four dams' power with clean energy would cost far less than salmon-recovery opponents have claimed. (3) The Final Plan Needs to Encourage Coal Plant Closures: Council staff have found that shutting down the dirty coal plants that now create almost all the power system's greenhouse gas emissions and replacing that dirty power with clean energy would be quite cheap. The Council must set a course to responsibly close these plants to help our electric utilities meet their climate responsibilities. The Bottom Line - We still can "have it all" - clean energy, wild salmon, and a healthy economy and environment - but it requires greater leadership from the Council: The Northwest has more than enough new renewable energy and new energy-savings opportunities at our fingertips to cleanly and affordably meet growing power needs, wean ourselves from dirty coal, restore endangered salmon by removing the four lower Snake River dams, and begin electrifying transportation to reduce climate pollution from that sector. Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the 6th Power Plan. I strongly urge you to strengthen the final version to ensure that it lays the groundwork for both the effective restoration of endangered Columbia and Snake River salmon and a substantial reduction in our region's carbon footprint. This will best serve the citizens, economy, and ecology of the Pacific Northwest. Sincerely, Laurie A. Smith