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01/22/2021 Portland Update


NRU webinar_direct case
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NRU Comments on GRC Revised Straw Propos
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Special Guest Speaker and Presentation Scheduled for February 3rd NRU Meeting

United States Congressman Mike Simpson’s Chief of Staff, Lindsay Slater, will be joining us at our February 3rd meeting to describe Congressman Simpson’s proposal to holistically provide significant infrastructure funding for the region and address the long running tension between the four lower Snake River Dams (LSRD) and salmon and other anadromous fish species. Congressman Simpson is a republican serving his eleventh term in the House of Representatives for Idaho’s Second Congressional District.

A week and a half ago Lindsay approached a group of utility managers who have been engaged in efforts to collaboratively identify a solution to the seemingly endless rounds of Biological Opinions and litigation over them and keep all stakeholders whole in the process. Congressman Simpson believes he has identified a solution that could potentially benefit the region and bring an equitable end to the unproductive and expensive cycle of court battles. Upon hearing the breadth of Simpson’s proposed solution, the initial group of utility managers immediately identified NRU as a key stakeholder and NRU was brought into the discussion within a couple days; the NRU Executive Committee was briefed by NRU staff immediately following NRU’s inclusion in conversations related to this proposal. Since that time, Lindsay has spoken directly with NRU staff on numerous occasions and has agreed to present the Congressman’s proposal in full to the entire NRU membership.

Lindsay has committed to a full hour at our meeting to present this proposal and answer questions. We are not sharing the outline of the proposal in advance of the meeting because Lindsay has asked that the details of the proposal be closely held, at least for the time being, in an effort to manage the message from the Congressman and integrate feedback from stakeholders into the proposal. It is fair to say the proposal marks a significant departure from historic positions on the LSRD’s but Congressman Simpson and Lindsay ask that we listen with an open mind and consider the potential long-term benefits of his proposal as it is shared with us. Retaining our position as a key stakeholder in this effort is crucial regardless of NRU’s ultimate position on this proposal and I am encouraging membership to hear Lindsay out before forming opinions regarding the proposal.

I am certain this conversation will take a significant chunk of time out of our scheduled meeting on the 3rd but we still have several agenda items that need board attention and approval. We will endeavor to conduct the meeting in the allotted time but may run over our normal adjournment time.


NRU Staff Profile #5 – Ellyn Groves, Office Administrator

Ellyn has been with NRU for almost a full year already! Ellyn started in March of 2020, replacing Sybil Brown as the Office Administrator. Ellyn brings over 10 years of office management and human resources experience spent in law firms and technology start-ups, specializing in process improvement, standard development, human resources and accounting.

Ellyn enjoys people, grocery stores and basketball and is always up for a conversation. Born and raised in Seattle, Ellyn moved to Portland in 2003. She spends her off time running, baking and making fun messes with her five-year-old son and their dog, Tulip.

Please do not hesitate to contact Ellyn with any questions via her email egroves@nru-nw.com or by phone at (503) 381-7088.

NRU Rate Case Webinar Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday for our BP-22/TC-22 rate case webinar. NRU members expressed support for the proposed NRU direct case positions that are described in the attached PowerPoint (which we have summarized below for your convenience). If you have any questions or would like to further discuss these issues, please contact us.

8th Power Plan

The NW Power and Conservation Council continues to work on its 8th Power Plan. The scenarios and modeling they are using for the 8th Power Plan differ from previous Plans and it will be critical to see how Council staff is able to communicate the assumptions and modeling results and how they can be applied to utility resource planning. Preliminary results should be coming out in the next couple of months and, as they do, we will increase the frequency of our check-ins with the Director of Power Planning, Ben Kujala. In the meantime, we continue to meet monthly with BPA staff working on Council issues to hear their concerns and stay apprised of how well Council staff is coordinating with BPA staff.

DRAFT NRU Comments on the Western Energy Imbalance Market Governance Review Committee Revised Straw Proposal

Attached to this update are proposed NRU comments to the California ISO on the Western EIM Governance Review Committee’s (“GRC’s”) Revised Straw Proposal for changes to the governance structure of the EIM. The Straw Proposal attempts to increase the EIM Governing Body’s control over the EIM’s rules but does so within the framework of the California ISO Board retaining ultimate control over the EIM. NRU’s proposed comments make two main points:

  • The Revised Straw Proposal would create a strong, viable and improved means of governing the EIM within the legal and political constraints of being ultimately controlled by the California ISO Board.

  • NRU would strongly prefer a western EIM that is a multi-state, independent entity not under the control of the state of California.

Please provide any feedback on the proposed comments to Zabyn at ztowner@nru-nw.com or 503-351-0485 no later than close of business on Thursday, January 28.

Earthjustice Files Amended Complaint Against 2020 Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement, Biological Opinion, and Record of Decision

On Tuesday, Earthjustice, on behalf of several conversation and fishing groups, filed an “amended complaint” in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The amended complaint continues the decades-long litigation over Columbia Rivers System Operations (CRSO), this time taking aim at the new Environmental Impact Statement, Biological Opinion and Record of Decision that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies issued in 2020. These three documents largely dictate fish operations at the Federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. The amended complaint alleges ongoing violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act, Administrative Procedures Act, and National Environmental Policy Act and portrays the 2020 CRSO documents as outdated Trump administration policies.

NRU is disappointed, but not surprised, to see the amended complaint. We are continuing to evaluate the legal arguments in the complaint along with the underlying political context, and we will continue to keep NRU Members informed as changes occur.

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