Appeal to Stop
by Shawn Goggins
Lincoln County residents will see rise in utility costs
PORTLAND - The appeal to stop a court-mandated overspill on dams in the lower Snake and Columbia rivers was shot down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday.
That means, the court-order to increase spill over Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary on the Columbia, and on the Snake--Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite will proceed as normal.
Those challenging the ruling argue that the overspill will harm salmon and steelhead instead of helping them (which was the point of the court-order out of the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon). Critics of the court's decision also say the added deluge could compromise the structural integrity of the dams, will cost Bonneville Power Administration customers over $40 million in added utility costs and hamper freight transportation on the Columbia.
Utilities that purchase power through the Bonneville Power Administration will likely be forced to raise rates. Last week, Inland Power and Light in Lincoln County confirmed that it will be raising its rates as a result of the spill. Inland Power purchases 97% of its power from the BPA.
iFiber One News obtained court papers that document why the court of appeals made its decision. The argument against the spill claimed that the district's court injunction was an abuse of discretion because "it was not narrowly tailored to the irreparable harm found." However, the court of appeals concluded that the district court "did not" abuse its discretion in granting the spill injunction nor did it not conduct an incorrect irreparable harm analysis.
After the ruling, federal lawmakers including Columbia Basin Congressman Dan Newhouse held a press conference. "It's like flushing money down the toilet," said Newhouse.
Newhouse and other lawmakers are working on legislation to eventually stop the spill.
The spill began Tuesday, April 3 and will continue through June.
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