Obama administration receives misleading information, reports, and guidance from Bonneville Power Administration and other federal agencies
Information runs counter to findings by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council
In recent presentations to the Obama administration, and in an effort to lobby the administration to adopt the Bush salmon plan, Bonneville Power Administration regional officials and other regional agency executives provided misleading and outdated information regarding alternatives to the Bush administration salmon plan for the Columbia & Snake Rivers.
For example, when describing the dam removal alternative and its effects on power production, the federal agencies assert that removal of the four lower Snake River dams will cost $450 to $850 million dollars per year. (See slides 30 and 43) However, instead of using new information available to them from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the federal officials were basing those costs on outdated data from an earlier Power Council plan. The newest Council information shows that the annual costs of dam removal would actually be between $172 and $321 million dollars per year – less than half of the BPA estimate – and that less than 760 average megawatts of power would be needed to replace any lost power generation from those dams (See pages 8-10).
See June 2009 Power Council Meeting slides (showing costs of $6.9 billion in a future with dam removal, which when spread over 50 years ranges from $172 - $321 million/year and that less than 760 megawatts of power would be required assuming that the power comes from natural gas) and more recent Council cost data presented at the Council's August 11 meeting (showing less than 575 average megawatts of replacement energy with costs similar to $172 - 320 million/year).
Not only are the differences in BPA’s estimates vast, but additionally, it is clear that only the exaggerated and outdated BPA estimates were presented to CEQ and other administration officials. The regional agency leaders did not bother to present other opinions, even those from fairly conservative entities like the Power Council.