Fish advocates want more of power revenue surplus to go to salmon, steelhead

Steelhead and salmon make their way up the Snake River through the viewing window at Lower Granite Dam. Survival of fish through the series of dams on the Columbia River is low.

Lewiston Tribune

The Bonneville Power Administration will favor its preferred customers over measures designed to help threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead when it distributes $500 million in surplus revenue.

On Jan. 6, BPA administrator John L. Hairston announced the agency would devote $350 million of the unexpected revenue last year to reducing the cost that its contracted customers pay for wholesale power. The agency will use $100 million to pay down its debt and $50 million to supplement its fish and wildlife program. The spending formula is unchanged from one proposed in November.

During a comment period last fall, salmon advocates pressed the agency to devote more of the surplus to salmon and steelhead while public power customers like Clearwater Power Co. praised the funding formula.

The Idaho Conservation League criticized the agency, calling the final funding decision a failure.

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