Saturday, February 19, 2005

Money Grab in the Northwest

From a letter sent by Jay Inslee (D. Wa 1st Cong. dist) to his constituents. One of the rewards of being in a blue state is the administration (hswib) thinks it's OK to make up for its tax giveaway to the rich by extracting money from consumers and destroying jobs in the Northwest. And as has become almost a defining characteristic, they have to lie to trump up any plausibility for their policy proposals.
As you may know, the President's budget proposes that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), supplier of 60% of the power in Washington State, raise its rates up to 20% a year for the next four or five years.

BPA, as you may know, is the federal agency that sells the power from the Columbia River Power System, a network of hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River. BPA is a nonprofit entity, selling the power at the cost it takes to generate and transmit it, without adding charges. The Administration's proposal would have BPA raise its rates on us to generate profits that would go back to the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C.
...
The Bush Administration's proposal to require BPA to sell its energy at market-based rates rather than cost-based rates, according to a McCullough Research report, would cost the Northwest 40,000 to 60,000 jobs over the next five years, a hit our region can scarcely afford at a time when we are just beginning to recover five years after the West Coast energy crisis. For this reason, all of Washington State's representatives in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, are united in opposing this proposal.
...
I recently questioned new Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman during a Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about the rationality of the Administration's proposed rate increases for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Secretary Bodman suggested that the legacy of charging cost-based rates to their Northwest consumers is subsidized by the American taxpayer. This characterization of BPA is inaccurate: BPA customers repay all of BPA's costs including paying interest on Bonneville's old, appropriated debt and any funds borrowed from the U.S. Treasury.

While I am honored that the Secretary could spend time answering my questions on Bonneville power rates, I disagree with the Secretary's idea that the federal government is somehow subsidizing power consumers in the Northwest when the BPA charges us cost-based rates. Bonneville, which produces power overwhelmingly with publicly owned resources, pays back every cent of its costs to the federal treasury. We do not expect government run libraries to make a profit and we do not expect government run Power Marketing Administration to turn a profit either. The current proposal aimed at changing the BPA rates is illegal and I will continue to oppose the Administration's attempts to impose the equivalent of a very large energy tax on Washington State consumers.

6 comments:

Carl said...

Wow, I miss having Jay Inslee as my Rep.

Kendall said...

Amen, brother.

RogerReed said...

Jay is consistently standing up to the Administration on issues like this -- I'm proud to have him represent me in Congress.

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