Since the 1930s, the Columbia River has been tamed and reshaped by an array of dams that stretch from the Bonneville Dam east of Portland to the Grand Coulee Dam near the Canadian Border. Not only have these dams destroyed abundant salmon runs, they have also inundated innumerable sacred Indigenous cultural sites. Now a new assault is being planned on the river, a pumped storage project near the town of Goldendale, right along the river. While being touted as a critical source of green energy, the project faces fierce opposition from the tribes and most environmental groups in the region.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Elaine Harvey, a member of the Rock Creek Band who works for Yakama Nation Fisheries, and Simone Anter, staff attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper, about why they believe this pumped-storage hydroelectric development threatens irreplaceable tribal cultural resources, fish, and wildlife.
More information on the Goldendale Pumped Energy Storage Project:
From the opponents point of view: https://www.columbiariverkeeper.org/our-work/saving-salmon/new-hydro
From the developer's point of view: https://www.ryedevelopment.com/projectstor/goldendale-washington/
Photo credit: Margie Van Cleeve