Category: Wind & Salmon Connection

BPA policy fails clean energy and salmon, ignores practical solutions

Portland, OR-- Today, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) filed its Oversupply Management Protocol with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a policy for possible oversupply of power during high water conditions.  BPA’s policy ignores practical solutions at its disposal that would simultaneously improve salmon migration, expand clean energy, and keep power rates affordable. The policy also runs counter to national priorities of the Obama Administration and sets the stage for continued and needless regional acrimony.

Save Our wild Salmon (SOS) remains frustrated that BPA contiues to use salmon as an excuse for policy decisions regarding wind power curtailments, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support its claims. The Oversupply Management Protocol is premised largely on BPA’s contention that legal constraints for salmon prevent it from spilling water at certain times. This policy instead appears to be primarily based on economics and not the biological needs of Columbia and Snake River salmon.

“BPA continues to illegitimately use `salmon protection’ as an excuse for its controversial policy,” says Pat Ford, Save Our wild Salmon’s executive director.  “But we and others have repeatedly proposed lawful solutions that are better for salmon and do not hurt the Northwest’s wind energy industry. We deeply regret that BPA has failed to embrace any of these solutions, and will oppose BPA’s policy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

“Despite overwhelming opposition to its draft proposal, BPA has chosen to cling to it,” continued Ford.  “Today’s proposal to FERC harms salmon by ignoring practical solutions to allow more safe salmon spill and create more salmon jobs.  BPA’s proposal also conflicts with the Obama Administration’s priority to promote clean energy and clean energy jobs.”

SOS submitted comments last month on BPA’s draft proposal, including policy recommendations that would actually be helpful to threatened salmon populations in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. These recommendations included using established real-time monitoring of migrating fish as the basis for managing salmon during high flows, and improving Washington State’s total dissolved gas standard to a more scientifically supported level. Neither of these recommendations is reflected in BPA’s proposal. A diverse set of nearly 90 entities joined SOS in submitting comments in opposition to BPA’s draft proposal last month.

Save Our wild Salmon is a diverse, nationwide coalition working together to restore wild salmon and steelhead to the rivers, streams and marine waters of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of our region's ecology, economy and culture.

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