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A Dam(n) Update | Will Pacificorp Partner Up or Push Us Aside?

A few weeks ago, we shared the news that Pacificorp was seeking approval to create not 1, but 2 new dams along the Bear River!


1 here in the Narrows above the current dam & another along the Cutler Reservoir in Cache Valley


Each will reshape the communities & wildlife of the Bear River along with us humans who live, play, hunt, fish, recreate, & depend upon her shores.


At a time when the Great Salt Lake is drying up & dams are being torn down, 2 new ones on the backs of the Bear & in our own backyard is beyond belief


In a River Valley where public access to the Bear is almost non existent, it’s unthinkable to disrupt the dwindling public connection to these 2 pristine ecosystems


And yet, Pacificorp seems confident it will happen. While casually pitched as a feasibility study, the truth is these two projects meet all the criteria to make the corporate cut. To make matters more complicated, there is a federal subsidy (your money) that will cover 30% of the cost.


Some say, “why the alarm? This is 7-10 years away.” Well, it turns out that the decisions impacting our distant future will be made NOW, not later. We are told to relax under the ambiguity of a “distant decision” when the reality is that the rug is being pulled under our River’s feet as we speak.


In 7 years, we will be witnessing construction, not public commentary.


We have hosted Pacificorp to confront our freshly disrupted source pond, met with their leadership team, and invited them to signal what kind of partner they will be should the dam proceed.


Will they be stewards and take responsibility for known and unknown impacts?


Or will they bend to the antiquated corporate bare minimum of legal obligations and “not our fault” arguments?


So far, their answer is… ”we don’t know yet”. After meetings with several representatives, their message was clear - they currently feel no legal responsibility for how their tests and future storage facility (aka dam) impact us as a business, you as guests, and certainly not the integrity of our source pond.



Whether or not Pacificorp feels like it should be responsible for what happens down the road is the great mystery. In a way, the damage to our source pond is a "canary in the mine" for all of the many unknown impacts. If they wont take accountability for this first negative impact in a testing phase that cost well over $40k for us to remediate, what confidence do we as citizens have they will address even great issues down the road?


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