The Snake River Alliance was founded soon after the Three-Mile Island accident by a handful of people who had just learned that the Idaho National Laboratory routinely injected hazardous and radioactive waste into the Snake River Aquifer, the sole source of drinking water for more than 300,000 Idahoans.
The Alliance helped found the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a coalition of more than 30 grassroots groups whose members live downstream and downwind from the nuclear industrial complex.
After the Alliance rallied public opposition to the Idaho National Laboratory’s practice of injecting hazardous and radioactive waste directly into the Snake River Aquifer, the last injection well was capped. The same year, INL was added to the Superfund list of the most contaminated places in the country. The Alliance has been the steadiest advocate for cleanup of the nuclear waste threatening Idaho’s drinking water. The cleanup efforts will continue for decades.
The Snake River Alliance led the effort to stop the Special Isotope Separator nuclear weapons facility at the Idaho National Laboratory. The facility, known as the SIS, would have used laser beams to purify plutonium for use in nuclear warheads and would have been the nation’s first new atomic weapons production plant built since 1963.
The Alliance launched its “Stop the Shipments” campaign to bear witness to federal shipments to Idaho of spent nuclear fuel. Supported by allies across the country, the Alliance’s grassroots actions built public support for Idaho’s legal efforts to stop incoming nuclear waste shipments.
The State of Idaho, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Department of Energy settled a lawsuit filed by the state to prevent shipment of spent nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory. The resulting settlement agreement requires the Department of Energy to remove all spent nuclear fuel from Idaho no later than 2035 and to treat all high-level waste, in preparation for final disposal elsewhere, by a target date of 2035. Idaho is now the only state in the nation that has a court order mandating that federal nuclear waste leave state boundaries by a specific date.
The Alliance worked with other groups to stop the construction of a plutonium waste incinerator at the Idaho National Laboratory.
Snake River Alliance expanded the organization’s mission to include clean energy advocacy for the state of Idaho.
The Snake River Alliance expanded the organization’s mission to include renewable energy advocacy. Since then, the Alliance has championed Idaho’s clean energy future.
The Alliance successfully stopped three different nuclear reactor proposals in Owyhee County, Payette County, and Elmore County, including efforts to rezone the agricultural land adjacent to the Snake River from “agricultural” to “heavy industrial” for the purpose of building a nuclear power facility.
The Snake River Alliance stopped a $4.1 billion uranium enrichment facility proposed for eastern Idaho by Areva, a French government-owned multinational nuclear corporation.
The Alliance launched the “Choose Efficiency, Lose the Coal” campaign with a bike rally in Boise.
The Snake River Alliance issued Idaho’s first report on how the state can end its use of coal-fired power generation: “Kicking Idaho’s Coal Habit – Charting a Cleaner Energy Future.” The Alliance held a “Careholders” rally outside of Idaho Power during its 2012 shareholders meeting, galvanizing public opposition to Idaho’s reliance on dirty coal-fired power imported from out-of-state.
The Snake River Alliance participated in a Public Utilities Commission case in which the Commission rejected a request from Idaho Power that would have all but ended the popular “net metering” program. Net metering allows customers to install solar panels on their rooftops, use that energy, and sell unused energy back to Idaho Power.
The Alliance published a new comprehensive report, Making a Difference: How Idahoans Can Work Toward a Clean Energy Future.
The Snake River Alliance launched the “Solarize the Valley” campaign and educated and provided affordable solar bids to more than 400 Treasure Valley families. Over three years the Alliance helped more than 120 families go solar, and invest more than $2.5 million in the Treasure Valley economy. The Alliance also intervened at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to protect existing and future solar customers. The Alliance organized massive turnout at public workshops in Boise and Pocatello, leading to what the Idaho PUC declared its most attended public workshops ever. .
The Alliance’s “Don’t Waste Idaho” campaign successfully challenged and ultimately stopped the Department of Energy’s plan to bring 7,000 cubic meters of plutonium-contaminated waste from Hanford, Washington to Idaho. Some characterized it as a “done deal” that 33,000 barrels of plutonium-laced waste would come into Idaho even as early as January 2019, but the Alliance’s powerful advocacy led to the Department cancelling the project!
Idaho Power and Avista both announced commitments of 100% clean energy by 2045, more than 10 years after the Alliance launched Idaho’s first campaign efforts to transition Idaho’s electric utilities off of coal and gas power, towards clean energy.