EDITORIAL

No to privatizing public power

Aerial view of Columbia River and Bonneville Dam. PHOTO: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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Unbeknownst to most, Trump’s budget plans to sell off the publicly owned Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) at fire sale prices. This is one of the most dangerous ideas to come out of the White House.

The BPA is a renowned public infrastructure project created in the 1930s New Deal era. It literally electrified rural areas private companies refused to. It now provides water and power to Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. BPA is responsible for electricity distribution and related water quality, clean salmon runs, and observing environmental regulations. Bonneville makes no profit and gets no federal funding. Its bills are paid by ratepayers.

This sell-off would be another giveaway to the wealthy, gifting public resources to the rich to get even richer. The new owners could charge whatever they could get away with and, if the administration gets its way, would be free from environmental reviews, prevailing wage and safety laws, and well maintained power lines.

These days, the power grid is the electrical equivalent of the body’s circulation system, and if not sustained will fail. And if the blood supply is starved or polluted, you will die.

All thumbs down on privatizing Bonneville.

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