By Rocky Barker
January 30, 2018
The Bonneville Power Administration will spend more on modernizing its grid and less on salmon recovery, the agency announced Tuesday.
The agency must find $40 million in cuts from the $300 million it spends annually on fish and wildlife. Those savings are needed to make up for the power generation the agency believes it will lose due to a federal judge’s latest order on salmon migration issues.
Expected cuts will be made on hatcheries, state and tribal management programs and other fish and wildlife programs.
The cuts are part of a five-year plan to stay competitive in a rapidly changing electricity market. Also included in the plan: reducing staff, developing new markets, and taking “an intellectually honest” look at removing four dams on the Snake River in Washington. BPA is the leading funder for salmon recovery efforts across the Pacific Northwest, spending more than $16 billion over the last 20 years. It not only supplies power for much of the region, but also shares its revenues with residential customers of Idaho Power and other regional private utilities.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon ordered BPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to examine breaching four dams on the Lower Snake River through an environmental review they must complete by 2021.
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