Snake River salmon advocate Northwest Resource Information Center on September 1, 2021 called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House of Representatives to block Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s effort to allow Bonneville Power Administration to borrow an additional $10 billion from U.S. taxpayers. LETTER
The NRIC was incorporated in Idaho in 1976 to protect Snake River salmon then threatened with extinction by four Army Corps of Engineers dams built 1960-1975 on the lower Snake River in southeastern Washington. NRIC says it failed--so far. The salmon are listed as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
According to NRIC director Ed Chaney, “Bonneville sells the power generated by the wrongly designed dams. It has used the power of its existing borrowing authority, and its political hegemony in the region, to subvert multiple Snake River salmon protection federal laws and treaties.”
“The economic, ecological and social damage extends thousands of miles along the Pacific coast from northern California to southeastern Alaska and more than 700 miles inland,” Chaney said. "The damage includes Southern Resident Orcas and a multitude of other marine and freshwater animals and ecosystem functions."
According to Chaney, “Bonneville is the architect of what is arguably the most economically costly, ecologically and socially destructive pseudo-scientific con in the Nation’s history—the Biological Opinions prepared under the ESA which federal courts for decades repeatedly have declared illegal—often with scathing sarcasm.”
In the letter to Speaker Pelosi, NRIC charges that Bonneville has wasted many billions of public dollars, caused $billions in damage, devastated untold thousands of lives, destroyed innumerable small businesses and jobs, caused the loss of untold $billions in economic opportunity foregone, and corrupted governance throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Chaney claims that "Bonneville is morally, ethically and nearly economically bankrupt. It can’t pay its bills; has maxed out its credit card with U.S. taxpayers and private lenders; and now sends Washington Senator Maria Cantwell to dutifully insert a near-doubling of its existing borrowing authority into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now pending House and presidential approval.”
The NRIC letter and extensive attached documentation urge Speaker Pelosi and House colleagues to strongly condition any increase in Bonneville’s borrowing authority upon a rigorous independent audit of Bonneville’s finances, its business plan, and its decades of subverting multiple federal laws and treaties which has caused far-reaching economic, ecological and social damage.