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Press Release

Bishop, McMorris Rodgers Praise House Passage of Bill to Save Western Ratepayers Millions

Today, the House passed H.R. 3144 (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.). The bipartisan bill provides certainty over the reliable management of the Federal Columbia River Power System and prevents the wasting of $40 million in lost power generation.

“This bill is a logical solution to the illogical regulatory mess facing communities of the Pacific Northwest. It will save taxpayers $16 million and protect fish by preventing a potentially deadly environment. I commend Rep. McMorris Rodgers for bringing up this bipartisan, common sense piece of legislation,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) stated.

“Dams and fish can coexist, and after more than two decades in the courtroom, let’s let scientists, not judges, manage our river system and get to work to further improve fish recovery efforts. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, our dams provide critical baseload energy to power homes and businesses all across Eastern Washington and the Pacific Northwest. Not only that, they provide transportation and irrigation benefits for our farmers, flood control for our communities, and recreational opportunities that fuel our economy. This isn’t about the merits of protecting salmon, we all agree on that. This is about providing certainty and letting experts and scientists in the region, who know the river best, work collaboratively to meet that goal. I’m proud to usher this legislation through the House,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said.

Supporters of the bill include a broad range of local stakeholders:

“The United Power Trades Organization is very pleased with the passage of H.R. 3144 by the House of Representatives. This legislation is good for the Northwest economy, good for thousands of workers whose income is directly related to river operations, good for the Northwest electrical ratepayer and, despite conclusions of those that don’t understand the complexities of fish passage, good for the anadromous fish who traverse the river system. We urge the Senate to quickly take up this legislation.” ­– Jack Heffling, President, United Power Trades Organization

“Hydropower produced on the Federal Columbia River Power System has been the economic backbone of communities across the Pacific Northwest for over 80 years. And since 1978, BPA and it’s consumer-owned customers have committed nearly $16 billion to support Northwest fish and wildlife recovery. HR 3144 provides the congressional direction for this successful partnership to continue.” – Desmarie Waterhouse, Vice President, Government Relations and Counsel, American Public Power Association

“This legislation will have a positive impact on the work of electrical contractors and the general populace of the region. The benefits of this legislation are clear: job creation, energy independence, and economic growth. NECA thanks Speaker Ryan, Chairman Bishop, and Rep. McMorris Rodgers for all of their effort in ensuring the passage of this essential legislation for the electrical contractors.” – 
John Grau, CEO, National Electrical Contractors Association

“By pressing pause until a replacement biological opinion can be crafted, this bill is a smart step that balances environmental and economic needs. We thank Rep. McMorris Rodgers for championing this bill and applaud the House for approving it.” – 
Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 

“PNGC and its 200,000 member homes, farms and businesses, including those in rural, underserved communities applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for advancing legislation that balances the dual priorities of environmental stewardship and a universal desire for economic growth and prosperity. We believe that fish and dams can coexist and are excited to support practical proposals like H.R. 3144 that encourage compromise outside of the courtroom.” – Beth Looney, President, and CEO of PNGC Power 

“We applaud Rep. McMorris-Rodgers common-sense effort to resolve the controversy over the Columbia and Snake River dam biological opinions.   This legislation holds the promise of providing the appropriate level of natural resources protection while also providing security to the residents of the Pacific Northwest, especially farm and ranch families that depend on river trade, irrigation, and of course competitively priced power rates.” – Dale Moore, Vice President Public Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation

“We applaud the passage of HR 3144 by the House of Representatives.  It is a critical bill to support our efforts to ensure that good science is used while protecting the economic value of this important resource to the State of Washington.” – George Caan, Executive Director, Washington Public Utility Districts Association 

“AWB praises the passage of HR 3144. We thank Washington state’s congressional delegation for their work in ensuring our state’s energy needs continue to be met with clean, renewable hydropower while preserving the natural environment.” – Kris Johnson, President, Association of Washington Business

“We know that river commerce and healthy, robust fish runs can co-exist, and this bill helps to keep both navigation and our region's salmon recovery efforts moving forward in a productive way.” – Commissioner Tom Kammerzell, Port of Whitman County. and Chairman of the Inland Ports & Navigation Group 

“We are pleased that H.R. 3144 passed the House. This common-sense legislation allows the Columbia River power system to be operated in a manner approved by both republican and democrat administrations while the agencies continue their thorough review of the system.” – Paul Arrington, Executive Director and General Counsel, Idaho Water Users Association

“Our potato farm families appreciate this forwarded thinking approach by promoting flood control, power generation, irrigation, navigation and recreation while protecting listed salmon.” – Matt Harris, Director of Governmental Affairs, Washington State Potato Commission