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Economic and dam related articles

Senators Turn Back BPA Increase -- Again

by Alicia Mundy
Seattle Times, March 19, 2007

WASHINGTON -- If something is completely expected, is it news?

That question arose in the wake of the announcement last week from a bipartisan group of Northwest senators that they had once again killed White House efforts to raise energy rates for Bonneville Power Administration customers.

In 2006, President Bush's budget authorized BPA to use revenues above $500 million to pay off federal loans early, instead of keeping down rates. The move was quashed by the delegation within a month.

The entire scene was repeated this year when the new budget was delivered last month. But Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Washington Democrats, as well as Democratic and Republican senators from Idaho and Oregon have added language to their budget resolution to block the government from taking excess BPA revenue.

BPA customers should be safe from an increase until next February, when the president's next budget will be presented and the whole dance will begin again.

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, introduced a bill with Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., to "end the politics of extinction" of salmon, as he calls it. It has been a decade since the government did a full analysis of the economic impact of salmon depletion; his legislation will enable the National Academy of Sciences to start one.

Save Our Wild Salmon, a Pacific Northwest environmental group, and the Federation of Pacific Coast Fishermen, encouraged McDermott to sponsor the bill.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today will hold a hearing on allegations of political interference with climate-change science -- a concern of several members of Washington's delegation, including Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island.

On Wednesday, former Vice President Al Gore will testify about global warming before joint House committees on science and on energy.

Alicia Mundy
Senators Turn Back BPA Increase -- Again
Seattle Times, March 19, 2007

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