CEO’s Message – September 2023

A Bad Idea Is Gaining Speed

Clay R. Fitch

Bill Watterson is a master at capturing universal experiences through his classic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. By sharing the exploits of 6-year-old Calvin, and his best friend, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes, Bill reminds his readers of their own journey through life.

Bill often uses scenes where Calvin is careening down a steep hill on a sled or wagon. As Calvin dodges trees and rocks, his panicked passenger Hobbes asks if maybe, just maybe, they should slow down or perhaps take a different course. Of course, Calvin ignores this sage advice and inevitably crashes. It isn’t until Calvin has stars circling his head that he recognizes that Hobbes had a point.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot like Hobbes. I can clearly see that a bad idea is gaining speed, but my voice alone isn’t enough to prevent the inevitable crash.

Yet another proposal to breach the lower Snake River dams is barreling down the hill and your access to safe, reliable, affordable, and clean electricity could be headed for a crash. But you can avoid that crash by raising your voice to oppose a proposal by President Joe Biden’s Council on Environmental Quality to ignore decades of peer-reviewed science and move forward with removing the dams.

Decades of mitigation and recovery programs have restored returning adult and migrating juvenile salmon populations to levels that exceed the number of fish counted before the dams were constructed. Advocates for dam removal claim that the only way to prevent the extinction of endangered species of salmon and steelhead is to breach the dams. But the problem isn’t the dams. In contrast, salmon populations in rivers without any dams are falling even as lower Snake River fish populations rebound.

Recently, I made yet another trip to Washington, D.C., with other electric utility industry representatives to defend your access to affordable electricity. I’m pleased to report that your federal representatives and senators understand the importance of affordable electricity to you but the anti-dam forces are loud and persistent.

We’ve been showcasing the benefits of hydro on pages 28 and 29 for the last several months. By now, you should have also received a letter from me in the mail sharing greater details about the importance of these dams and making the same ask I’m about to make here. You can also read the message on page 28.

When I coached high school basketball, there was often talk of “home court advantage” but I think it is misnamed. The court was never an advantage, but the crowd was. When the game was tight, my teams would play just a little harder when the crowd got loud. If you think of our elected representatives as your team, they need the crowd to get loud. Please raise your voice against this misguided proposal to remove the lower Snake River dams by scanning the QR code with your phone. The QR code will take you to a website set up by Wells Rural Electric Company’s strategic partner Northwest RiverPartners, which leads a diverse coalition of river users to oppose dam removal. The website lets you send a message to Nevada’s entire congressional delegation quickly and easily.

Please take action today!

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer