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Member of Power Board Announces Resignation

by Jonathan Brinckman
The Oregonian, November 6, 2002

Eric Bloch, one of Oregon's two representatives to the Northwest Power Planning Council, said Tuesday he will resign from the council Jan. 1 Also Tuesday, aides to Gov. John Kitzhaber said the governor has nominated Senate President Gene Derfler, R-Salem, to replace the state's other representative to the council, John Brogoitti. Kitzhaber appointed both Brogoitti and Bloch to the council, which is charged with balancing power generation and the needs of salmon and other wildlife in the Columbia River Basin.

In August, Kitzhaber asked Brogoitti to resign from the council after the Pendleton rancher publicly accused the governor of having an environmentalist agenda. Brogoitti refused to resign and has continued to serve on the council, which has eight members, two each from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Kitzhaber had planned to nominate Melinda Eden, chairwoman of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, to replace Brogoitti. On Tuesday, a spokesman said the governor now is proposing that Derfler replace Brogoitti and Eden replace Bloch.

"It's sort of a double substitution," said Tom Towslee, a spokesman for Kitzhaber. "We think that Melinda Eden and Senator Derfler will bring some excellent experience to the power council."

Both nominations must be confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Under Oregon law, a council member must vacate the position after the Senate confirms a replacement's appointment.

Brogoitti said Tuesday that he would leave the council if the Senate confirms Derfler as his replacement. Council members are paid about $90,000 a year.

The Senate Interim Committee on Rules and Executive Appointments will consider the nominations at 9 a.m. Thursday. The committee will then forward its recommendations to the Senate, which will meet later that day.

Derfler was elected to the Senate in 1994 and became Senate president in 2001. The last four years he has been championing proposals to protect low-cost electric power, including having the region take over the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency.

Larry Cassidy, power council chairman, said he thought Eden and Derfler would be good council members. "There would certainly be a shorter learning curve for somebody with the experience of Gene Derfler."

Jonathan Brinckman
Member of Power Board Announces Resignation
The Oregonian, November 6, 2002

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