John Francisco has been named CEO at Northwest Requirements Utilities, the NRU board of directors announced July 15. Francisco most recently served as regional VP for National Rural Utilities Cooperative Financial Corp., and before that worked at Inland Power and Light for 23 years in several managerial roles, including chief of energy resources from 2013 to 2018 and energy services manager from 2010 to 2013. Founded in 2002, NRU is a nonprofit trade association that represents 53 load-following customers of BPA. Francisco’s tenure at NRU will start effective Sept. 1.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says that ­current El Nino conditions will likely transition to neutral ­conditions over the next two months. The Center had been ­forecasting a weak El Nino to persist through the fall, and into the winter months. El Nino winters in the Pacific Northwest are more often warmer and drier than normal, while neutral conditions are generally closer to average. Latest modeling forecasts show “a rapid transition toward ENSO-neutral by the late Northern Hemisphere summer, remaining neutral through fall and winter,” a July 11 advisory said. “Overall, oceanic and atmospheric conditions were consistent with a weakening El Nino,” it said.

Coleman Oil agreed to pay a $189,000 fine for spilling about 3,840 gallons of biodiesel into the ­Columbia River at a bulk oil plant in Wenatchee in 2017, according to the Washington Department of Ecology. The penalty will be reduced to $170,000 if the company pays $65,000 for habitat restoration, and $105,000 to upgrade two other facilities, and incurs no spills over 25 gallons for five years. The Idaho-based company initially said it would appeal the fine (CU No. 1880 [11.1]), noting it has cooperated fully and already spent $2.6 million on response, monitoring and cleanup.

The Northwest Power and Conservation ­Council agreed on July 17 to seek a review by the­ ­Independent Scientific Advisory Board of a report by the Upper Columbia United Tribes on salmon ­passage and ­reintroduction above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. Presented to the Council in June (CU No. 1906 [10]), the report found good potential at both dams for a fish passage system for summer/fall ­Chinook and ­sockeye salmon. The Council’s letter to ISAB asks for an ­evaluation of the report’s strengths, uncertainties and limitations, and whether it addresses the biological and physical elements of reintroducing fish into the upper Columbia River.

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