McMorris Hails Agreement that Protects Pacific Northwest Energy Rates

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today announced that the Administration will be prevented from implementing their proposed Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) rule change until April 2007, due to language included in the emergency supplemental spending bill. The proposed rule would have seized a portion of BPA’s future revenue and used it towards repayment of its federal debt, hurting BPA’s ability to use its sale of surplus power to offer low electricity rates in the northwest.

“This is a win for farmers, business and families in the Pacific Northwest,” said McMorris. “It is time for the Administration to recognize that we will do everything in our power to stop their efforts to unfairly target BPA. Eastern Washington’s economy was built on inexpensive renewable energy from our dams and our communities and businesses depend on the benefits of low-cost federal power. Yet this is just a short-term victory and I will continue to work with the bipartisan Congressional delegation from the Pacific Northwest to achieve a long-term solution with the Administration to protect our low energy rates.”

McMorris, along with Republican House Members from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, sent a letter yesterday to House Appropriators urging them to include the BPA language in the final version of the emergency supplemental bill.

In the Pacific Northwest, 40 percent of electricity sales and 75 percent of the transmission come from the BPA. This proposal would have raised rates as high as 10 percent in the Pacific Northwest – a region where electricity rates are almost 50 percent higher than those in place before the 2001 energy crisis.

Since taking office, McMorris has actively opposed the Administration’s proposals to change BPA rates. Last year, she worked with members of the delegation to successfully eliminate from the budget a proposal that would have required BPA to sell power at market-based rates, rather than at cost. This year she testified to the Budget Committee on the impact of a BPA rate change, and as Vice-Chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee conducted an oversight hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2007 Budgets for Federal Power Marketing Administrations.

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