Tester Sees CFAC Power Deal
by Dennis Bragg
Montana Senator Jon Tester says a pending power deal between the Bonneville Power Administration and Columbia Falls Aluminum is not only good economic news for the Flathead, it's also critical to the entire state's well-being.
BPA, which controls wholesale power in the region, announced Monday it had offered CFAC a proposed electricity contract which would allow the company to restart some operations for the first time in almost two years.
The proposal, which must still be approved by BPA, would give the aluminum smelter a guaranteed source of power for the next 4½ years, allowing CFAC to re-start two of the five "potlines" used in production.
In an interview with Montana's News Station Wednesday morning, Tester says the proposed contract is great news for Columbia Falls, but it's equally important to the entire state, and the move to re-start manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
"The Northwest has been hit incredibly hard with job loss and this plant does a lot of good things. First, it gets some of our manufacturing base back in this country where we need to have more. And the other thing it does is creating some good paying jobs in an area where we need more good paying jobs in Northwestern Montana."
Tester is encouraging everyone from local government and business leaders to local residents and former and future CFAC workers to throw their support behind the deal during BPA's formal comment period between now and the end of the month.
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