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NW Fishletter #312, January 17, 2013

[8] Energy Dept. Picks Bill Drummond For New BPA Administrator

Department of Energy secretary Steven Chu announced Jan. 16 the appointment of BPA's deputy administrator Bill Drummond to head the power marketing agency after current BPA head Steve Wright retires next month.

"The leadership of BPA is critically important because America's continued global competiveness in the 21st century will be significantly affected by whether we can efficiently produce and distribute electricity to businesses and consumers, seamlessly integrating new technologies and new sources of power," said Chu in a press release. "I look forward to working with Bill Drummond to help lead BPA's transition to a more flexible, resilient, and reliable electric grid and establish much greater coordination among system operators in partnership with its customers."

"Bonneville represents the best expression of public vision and achievement; collaborative relationships, environmental stewardship and a commitment to operational excellence," said Drummond in a statement. "I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to my new role at BPA."

Drummond has been deputy administrator since October 2011. Before that, he managed the Western Montana Electric Generating and Transmission Cooperative in Missoula, Montana, for 17 years. From 1988 to 1994, he served as director of the Public Power Council, an association of all Northwest publicly-owned utilities. He holds degrees in forestry from the University of Montana and economics from the University of Arizona.

The Northwest Energy Coalition applauded the announcement, but said the agency faces stiff challenges in meeting its fish and wildlife responsibilities. "One immediate task is putting BPA on the legal side of endangered wild salmon restoration," said a statement from NEC director Sara Patton. "For 15 years, BPA has been party to a series of woefully inadequate federal recovery plans that the courts have ruled flatly illegal. It's time for BPA to become part of the solution." The NEC suggested he hire a deputy director with experience in those areas.

"The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is pleased that the Bonneville Power Administration has chosen Bill Drummond as the agency's new administrator," said CRITFC executive director Paul Lumley." Under Steve Wright's administration we were able to establish a foundation of partnership and collaboration that recognized the tribes' treaty fishing rights. We look forward to building on that foundation with Mr. Drummond and continue working on our mutual goal of rebuilding healthy and sustainable salmon populations throughout the Columbia Basin."

A statement from the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition said, "Bonneville can support NOAA Fisheries' recently-launched stakeholder process as a collaborative workspace where salmon, energy, transportation, and agricultural users can work together to tackle the uncertainties affecting us all on the Columbia and Snake. These rivers and what we need from them are changing, climate disruption is accelerating that change, and the challenges that confront all users can only be resolved together--not separately." -B. R.

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