The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted the surrender of Pacific Power’s license on Condit Dam today, clearing the company to remove the dam on Washington’s White Salmon River as planned. The commission found the benefits of dam removal to fish, wildlife and whitewater recreation outweigh the costs of removing the dam, which can generate 14 megawatts of electricity (tiny compared with Bonneville’s 1,100 megawatts, and the like).
Condit dam has been targeted for removal for more than a decade; it has blocked the White Salmon River about three miles upstream from its confluence with the Columbia River since 1913. Portland-based Pacific Power decided to remove the aging dam rather than pay for the upgrades needed to relicense it. The state of Washington signed off on the dam removal in October, clearing the way for FERC to weigh in with a final approval.