CEE - Climate / Energy / Environment

 Mission Statement: The mission of the Climate, Energy and Environment (CEE) Committee of COIN is to advocate for policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels that promote environmental sustainability.

History: CEE was launched in early 2017 as a committee of the newly formed Portland-based Indivisible group, One Small Thing PDX. In early 2021, One Small Thing PDX merged with another local Indivisible group, Indivisible 97201, to become Act for Democracy (A4D). Activists from other Oregon Indivisible groups who shared our commitment to advancing climate, energy, and environmental sustainability began to join CEE as new members. In February 2022, CEE was invited and agreed to become an official committee of the Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network (COIN), comprised of over 40 local Indivisible groups across Oregon. We welcome new members to the CEE Committee from individuals who are affiliated with other Oregon Indivisible groups.

Background: We support policies and programs that address the climate crisis, defend and preserve the natural world, and advance clean and renewable energy options as alternatives to fossil fuels. We are guided by an environmental and economic justice lens that incorporates diversity, inclusion, transparency, and democratic principles.

Examples of recent actions taken by CEE that reflect our mission statement include:

The CEE Team meets by Zoom on the first Thursday of each month from noon - 1:30 p.m.   

We welcome new members who are interested in supporting our mission. Please contact us at CEE.Indivisible@gmail.com if you're interested in joining the CEE Team. 

CEE Action - Lower Snake River Dams

The "DAM" team (a.k.a the LSRD team) is a subcommittee of CEE that focuses on educating the public about the need to breech the four Lower Snake River Dams (LSRDs) as soon as possible to save the Snake River salmon and steelhead, as well as many organisms that depend on them, from extinction. One of our first activities was a screening of the documentary Dammed to Extinction followed by an expert panel discussion. You can watch the panel discussion by clicking on the YouTube video to the left. The documentary can be rented on Amazon or  Vimeo.  It's well worth the rental cost to view this amazing film by two northwest filmmakers.  


The federal government’s long-standing approach to protecting wild salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia-Snake Basin has failed. Five consecutive federal salmon plans have been ruled inadequate and illegal by three different judges over the last 20+ years. During this time, federal agencies have spent more than $10 billion of public money in wild fish restoration but have yet to recover a single salmon or steelhead population. There is a detailed timeline here.

The economics of these four dams has been controversial since before their construction in the 1960s and 1970s. Their modest services, particularly energy and transportation, have been in steep decline as dam maintenance and operations costs have risen. Their benefits can be cost-effectively replaced with reliable, effective alternatives like wind, solar and rail.

 A lawful, science-based plan must include the removal of the four federal dams on the lower Snake River. We need a Northwest plan that works for the region’s ecology and its economy, for fishermen and farmers, for taxpayers and energy bill payers.


On December 14, 2023, two groundbreaking steps were taken toward a comprehensive, Columbia Basin-wide solution to restore healthy and abundant salmon populations, and honor Treaty obligations to Pacific Northwest Tribes. These include the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative (CBRI) and a set of specific Federal commitments, actions and investments to support the Initiative.

The Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative was developed by “Six Sovereigns”, including the states of Washington and Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, and the Nez Perce Tribe. It establishes, for the first time, a regionally-supported roadmap to rebuild endangered native fish populations, honor Tribal treaty rights, and restore healthy ecosystems while supporting a robust Pacific Northwest economy. The CBRI explicitly “lays out a pathway to breaching” the four lower Snake River dams, along with replacement of the services currently provided by the dams. It protects and enhances key service sectors by modernizing and investing in clean energy, agriculture, and transportation, to restore vital ecosystem functions and services essential for local and regional resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Concurrently, the Biden Administration pledged the federal government to work with the Six Sovereigns and their constituencies, and supported the CBRI with new federal commitments and investments. These include more than half a billion dollars in NEW federal funding and resources to the region.

 We are not at the finish line, though we're closer than ever before. Our goal remains the restoration of a free-flowing Snake River, abundant salmon and steelhead, and a healthy Columbia Basin ecosystem, all of which require breaching the four dams as soon as possible.


Paulette Wittwer   or  Patti Kramer

Photo credit: Ted S. Warren/AP 


#1  Attend a book release event in June for the new book Big River: Resilience and Renewal in the Columbia Basin at a venue near you:

Click here for more information on the book release tour. 

#2. Urge state officials to take next steps to recover and protect salmon, restore a free- flowing river and reevaluate available renewable energy in Oregon. Here’s a sample letter to send, provided by Save Our Wild Salmon, or to modify the letter with your own words:

 Dear Governor Kotek,

       Thank you for your leadership thus far to restore and protect salmon and native fish in the Columbia-Snake River basin. In collaboration with the four lower Columbia Tribes, we must now urgently develop and support clean, non-hydropower resources and transmission to replace the marginal power generated by the four lower Snake River dams.

       The lower four Snake River dams provide highly seasonal, limited, replaceable energy services, producing only 750 average megawatts each year, making up 3% of total energy generation in the Northwest.  So long as these dams stay in place, salmon (and orca) hurtle towards extinction, and millions of dollars will be needed to update aging turbines and infrastructure.  All the while, there is a flood of non-hydro renewable energy projects just waiting to be built in the Northwest that will easily replace the energy the Snake River dams provide now.

       Please direct your agencies to quickly deploy, or seek from utilities that serve them, clean, extinction-free power generation that keeps energy prices affordable and supports the resiliency of stakeholders across the region.

<your name>

Send this to Governor Tina Kotek at www.oregon.gov/gov/pages/contact-us.aspx

and CC it to:

Geoffrey Huntington, Senior National Resource Advisor, geoff.huntington@oregon.gov

Karin Power, Natural Resources and Climate Advisor, karin.power@or.gov