Help send a clear message to Washington State officials: Save the Skykomish River!
Despite widespread opposition, a Washington State power company SnoPUD has proposed building a new dam and power plant on the protected Skykomish River. This environmental catastrophe would partially dewater over a mile of river, including two pristine waterfalls, Canyon Falls and Sunset Falls.
SnoPUD’s proposed damis a $150 million boondoggle that would produce minimal energy – less than 1% of their energy portfolio - while posing serious risks to our environment, recreation opportunities, and quality of life.
At present, taxpayers are spending $324.7 MILLION to remove two Washington State dams on the Elwha River.
This targeted area, the South Fork of the Skykomish River, is one of only four Scenic Rivers designated for protection by the Washington State Legislature. In addition, this area has also been nominated to Congress for Federal Protection by the U.S Forest Service for its Outstanding Remarkable Values, which would be destroyed by this project.
Sunset Falls is in a Northwest Power and Conservation Council Protected Area from hydropower development because “such development would have major negative impacts that could not be reversed.”
Vigorously opposed are:
- The Sierra Club
- American Rivers
- American Whitewater
- The Hydropower Reform Coalition
- The Alpine Lakes Protection Society
- The North Cascades Conservation Council
- The Mountaineers
- Washington Wild
- Washington residents and ratepayers
The Skykomish River is home to ESA threatened Chinook (King) salmon as well as bull trout, river otters, wild salmon, steelhead and other fish and wildlife, aquatic birds, raptors, and amphibians. The Skykomish River is one of the few remaining rivers in Washington State without a dam!
I am writing to ask you to abandon Utility District plans for hydropower development on the Skykomish River (FERC P-14295). The PUD board has stated “that [they] will not force this project on anyone”.
The proposed project violates Washington State’s I-937 renewable energy standards (WAC 194-37) and SnoPUD’s own integrated resource plan because it includes a new impoundment.
The Skykomish River is part of the the Washington State Scenic River System (79A.55 RCW); intended to “protect and preserve the natural character of such rivers and fulfill other conservation purposes.” Rivers in the system “shall be preserved in as natural a condition as practical and that overuse of such rivers, which tends to downgrade their natural condition, shall be discouraged.”
The Skykomish River has been determined ‘suitable’ and has been recommended to Congress for Wild and Scenic River designation by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the 1990 Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Plan and is listed by the National Park Service on the National Rivers Inventory and is noted as having outstanding remarkable values (ORVs).
The Skykomish River has been designated by the National Fisheries Service as critical habitat for threatened Puget Sound Chinook Salmon. Any possible impacts to salmon must be prevented.
Sunset and Canyon Falls are in a Northwest Power and Conservation Council Protected Area from hydropower development because the Council has determined that “such development would have major negative impacts that could not be reversed.”
The Sunset Falls hydro development proposal is being vigorously opposed by ratepayers and environmental agencies, including but not limited to the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, American Rivers, American Whitewater, the Hydropower Reform Coalition, the North Cascades Conservation Council, the Sierra Club, The Mountaineers and Washington Wild.
Moving ahead with the project would most certainly be forcing the project on these concerned parties.
Thank you for considering this request.