10/23/2020 Portland Update

Reminder – NIU and NRU Quarterly Meetings Scheduled for November 4th

The NIU and NRU meetings will both be held as planned on November 4th utilizing the same GoToMeeting virtual format as the May and August meetings. The agendas for both meetings are packed with information and we will be asking for feedback and guidance on a number of topics. Please plan for both meetings together, to span the entire morning. We will distribute virtual connection details with meeting materials approximately one week prior to the meeting date.

Update on “Four State Process”

The Four State Process has not progressed notably beyond what has been included in previous updates, but I wanted to share some comments expressed this week by BPA regarding funding of the process. In the September 25 update, we mentioned some desire by the architects of the Four State Process to have BPA fund the activities envisioned under the process and made clear that we were not in support of that notion. In a meeting this week, BPA staff passed along that John Hairston made it very clear that there is no bank at BPA for this effort. BPA staff also openly stated that BPA does not support rapid departure from the EIS. Both of these comments were strongly supported by NRU and all in public power attending the meeting.

CRSO IES Legal Challenge

The question on whether the CRSO EIS would be challenged in court has always been about when it would be challenged rather than if it would be challenged. Now we know the answer to that question. Yesterday, Earthjustice filed a 60-day notice of their intent to return to court to challenge the latest federal plan for hydropower operations on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Earthjustice filed on behalf of a coalition of fishing and conservation groups; the list of groups is included at the end of the notice found at the link above.

We haven’t had time to read through the notice of intent and form any kind of opinion on it. However, it’s notable that several of the organizations included in the notice of intent are groups that had previously called for regional collaboration for the purpose of avoiding endless litigation. This move seems to cast doubt on the efficacy of the process called for by the four state governors as reported on above. 

BPA Administrator Selection Update

The posting on USA jobs for the BPA Administrator position closed on Monday of this week. A formal list of potential candidates has not been released yet, but we are not aware of any applicants for the position who are external to BPA.

While DOE has been relatively quiet about their process to name a permanent BPA Administrator, Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) in Jacksonville Florida has whittled their search for a new CEO down to three candidates with Interim BPA Administrator John Hairston, making their list. An article posted on the website of a local Jacksonville TV station on October 20, reports that JEA will conduct final interviews on October 27 and intends to complete contract negotiations and name a new CEO by October 30. NRU will monitor the news in Jacksonville for updates on this hiring decision.

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