Today Washington Wild joined 79 other organizations on a joint letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) coordinated by Hydropower Reform Coalition concerning the economical, ecological,and social impacts of new dam construction.
The letter was sent in response to the DOE’s November 2016 Request for Information “Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development of Hydropower in Undeveloped Stream Reaches of the United States; Request for Information.”
While recognizing the importance of hydropower as a source of renewable energy and strong interest in increasing capacity, the letter urged the DOE to upgrade existing hydropower projects or non-powered dams and to steer away from new dam construction.
Signatories to the letter argued that new dam construction on free flowing rivers can have significant negative impacts for the surrounding environment. Dam construction and hydropower operations have the potential to harm fish migration, habitat connectivity, water quality, result in loss of biodiversity, and limit recreation activities, among others. In addition, new hydropower infrastructure projects make little economic sense as they are extremely costly to build and to maintain, and negatively impact local recreation economies.
Read the joint comment letter here.