Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Washington tribe calls on Seattle City Light to remove the Gorge Dam
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altasnob
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PostThu Aug 05, 2021 9:46 pm 
The Upper Skagit and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribes have asked Seattle City Light to begin studies on removing the Gorge Dam, the dam right below the Diablo Lake dam. The tribes opinion has no legal binding on Seattle City Light. The Upper Skagit share federally reserved treaty rights to co-manage the Skagit River with the Swinomish Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe and the state of Washington. The Swinomish Tribe hasn't issued their opinion yet.

https://crosscut.com/environment/2021/08/washington-tribe-calls-seattle-city-light-remove-gorge-dam

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Schroder
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PostFri Aug 06, 2021 9:32 am 
I'm kind of surprised this would be brought up since Gorge Lake is pretty much a deep rocky canyon with only Stetattle Creek as a tributary. Also, City Light has always argued there was no fish passage above Gorge Dam. I would think the Baker dams would be much more significant in terms of fish spawning areas affected.

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Randito
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PostFri Aug 06, 2021 10:30 am 
I believe that Gorge dam is up for re-licensing -- that is likely a factor in why the tribe is pursuing this action at this time.

The removal of the dams on the Elwha are also likely a factor providing the tribe with evidence of the benefits of dam removal.

One of the harms enumerated is the loss of river sounds in the gorge as current dam manament practise is to have almost no flow through the river bed.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out -- given that the three dams on the Skagit (Gorge, Diablo and Ross) provide over 80% of the electrical power to Seattle City Light it seems like a long stretch that all of these dams would be removed -- some sort of alternate settlement seems like a more likely outcome.

(Unless "Mr Fusion" is invented and allows electrical demand to be met without the environmental impact of dams or fossil fuel burning power plants)

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domaz
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PostFri Aug 06, 2021 10:41 am 
Randito wrote:
It will be interesting to see how this plays out -- given that the three dams on the Skagit (Gorge, Diablo and Ross) provide over 80% of the electrical power to Seattle City Light it seems like a long stretch that all of these dams would be removed -- some sort of alternate settlement seems like a more likely outcome. 

Wikipedia says 25% for the Skagit projects, most Western Washingotn Power companies get the bulk of their power from the Columbia River dam projects. Taking out one of these dams is unlikely to be a huge issue considering how much available power the Columbia River projects have.

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kw
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PostFri Aug 06, 2021 7:15 pm 
Looks as if Seattle City Light has committed to "study" whether to remove one or more of the Skagit dams.

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PostThu Aug 12, 2021 12:53 pm 
The gorge dam generates 200MW of emissionless electricity(at peak).  Combined with the other two its about 700MW.  Paying to remove this during global warming is a downright terrible idea.

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domaz
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PostFri Aug 13, 2021 1:22 pm 
thunderhead wrote:
The gorge dam generates 200MW of emissionless electricity(at peak).  Combined with the other two its about 700MW.  Paying to remove this during global warming is a downright terrible idea.

Who said anything about removing the Columbia Gorge dam? The Skagit Dam's pale in comparison to how much they generate, so why even bother with them?

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Gabep
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PostFri Aug 13, 2021 4:40 pm 
He is referring to the Gorge Dam which is the name of the lowest dam on the Skagit.

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Pyrites
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PostSat Aug 14, 2021 12:21 am 
King 5 and the Upper Skagit have been doing a presumably prepared series this year on the dams and fish. One of the projects of a quality to submit as a candidate for some category of Pulitzer.

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Randito
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PostSat Aug 14, 2021 8:15 am 
Perhaps the FERC decision that more studies weren't needed for reliscensing is a factor in why the first nation folks pursued legal action.  (June)

https://www.newsdata.com/clearing_up/environment/seattle-city-lights-gorge-dam-removal-study-unnecessary-ferc-rules/article_b9245932-ebf4-11eb-bea5-cf5f8a0f8b95.html

It would also appear that merely restoring some flow to the dried section of river isn't considered an adequate remedy. (April)

https://www.king5.com/article/news/investigations/seattle-offers-to-change-dam-operations-on-sacred-stretch-of-the-skagit-river/281-0951f6d2-c53f-4b04-8c99-a92351980c3f

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altasnob
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 7:57 am 
Skagit County is suing City of Seattle (who represents Seattle City Light) for the city allegedly refusing to provide financial documents on the Gorge Dam. It is pretty rare for one public agency to file a public records lawsuit against another public agency in Washington rather than just work things out like adults. But Skagit County does have a history of suing other state agencies. In fact, it is the same attorney handling Skagit's lawsuit against Seattle and DNR.

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RodF
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PostMon Sep 06, 2021 4:04 pm 
Randito wrote:
I believe that Gorge dam is up for re-licensing -- that is likely a factor in why the tribe is pursuing this action at this time.

For contesting the Cushman relicensing, the Skokomish Tribe settled for $12.6 million in cash, $23 million in real estate, and 7.25% of the value of its electricity = $500,000+ per year for each of the next 40 years.  That's $70,000 per enrolled tribal member.

Far higher ROI than any tax-free casino or gas station.  It's free money, like their commercial sale of salmon gill-netting rights.  They'd be foolish to leave such money on the table.

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altasnob
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PostSat Sep 18, 2021 8:58 am 
Sauk-Suiattle tribe sues Seattle City Light, demands it can’t call itself ‘green’

The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe filed a class-action lawsuit stating the electric utility’s green power claims are misleading and hurting the tribe.

The lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court seeks an injunction restraining Seattle City Light from advertising itself as a fish-friendly, green and environmentally responsible utility until Seattle provides fish passage at its three Skagit River dams.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/sauk-suiattle-tribe-sues-seattle-city-light-demands-it-cant-call-itself-green/

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gb
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PostMon Sep 20, 2021 6:10 am 
High Country News August issue has extensive articles on this. High Country News August Issue It seems that Seattle City Light has not been forthcoming in releasing records and has refused a study.

This is probably a big thing and pits several tribe and other commercial fisheries against the power generation value of these dams. I have to question whether Gorge Dam in and of itself would have that big of an affect on salmon spawning, while it is much more certain the upper dams would have such an affect. But Seattle City Light refused to even allow a study on the issue. Several tribes sewed.

Passage for fish past the dams would undoubtedly be a very difficult thing.....

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