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The Power Politics of Hells Canyon

Description: This study examines the controversy regarding Hells Canyon on the Snake River, North America's deepest gorge. Throughout the 1950s, federal and private electric power proponents wrangled over who would harness the canyon's potential for generating hydroelectricity. After a decade of debate, the privately-owned Idaho Power Company won the right to build three small dams in the canyon versus one large public power structure. The thesis concludes that private development of Hells Canyon led to incomplete resource development. Further, support of private development led to extensive Republican electoral losses in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950s.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Alford, John Matthew