August 10, 2020

Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

Preferred Alternative recommends preserving the four Lower Snake River dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration released the Columbia River Systems Operations Final Environmental Impact Statement (CRSO FEIS).  The report evaluated recommendations on the future operations of the federal hydro system, including breaching of the four lower Snake River dams (LSRD) and considered the environmental, economic and social effects multiple alternatives.  The Preferred Alternative recommend maintaining the LSRD with adjusted operations.  The CRSO FEIS concluded that the LSRD were critical to providing affordable, reliable and clean energy for the Northwest. 
The three co-lead agencies plan to release a joint record of decision in late September that will document which alternative evaluated in the FEIS will be selected for implementation. 
To review the final EIS, visit the Columbia River System Operations webpage.   
For more from our partners at:
Northwest RiverPartners:  Final Environmental Impact Statement Completes Four Year Federal Process; Settles Debate on the Value of the Lower Snake River Dams

Pacific Northwest Waterways Association:  Federal agencies release final environmental review of Columbia River System Operations – new plan balances environmental protections, human uses

Biological Opinion
On another note, the CRSO FEIS release coincided with the release of a NOAA Fisheries’ Biological Opinion, which examined the proposed hydroelectric operations under the EIS Preferred Alternative. It found that the recommended operations are consistent with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).