Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden secures assurance from Energy Secretary to not privatize BPA

May 9, 2019
Press Release

Greg Walden secures assurance from Energy Secretary to not privatize BPA

Walden says the idea of selling off BPA assets is roundly rejected by Pacific Northwest Congressional delegation

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks during the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today secured an assurance from Energy Secretary Rick Perry that the Trump Administration would not privatize the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) without Congressional authorization. During a hearing at the Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden raised concerns about the administration’s proposal to sell off BPA assets, which Walden said would have a negative effect on Oregonians and power users in the region.

“The idea of selling off Bonneville Power Administration’s electricity transmission assets and abandoning cost-based rates is broadly rejected by practically every member of the Pacific Northwest Congressional delegation in the House and Senate,” Walden said to Perry. “Can you assure me that the Department of Energy will not sell off BPA unless Congress provides explicit authorization?”

Walden has repeatedly raised his concerns over the proposal to privatize BPA. In a letter sent to the House Budget Committee recently, Walden said that the proposal would "result in the federal government abandoning a successful and efficient solution for providing affordable power to rural, urban, and tribal communities."

Secretary Perry reaffirmed his commitment to Walden that BPA would not be privatized absent Congressional authorization.

“I can assure you that we will follow your direction, sir,” Mr. Perry said to Walden.

During the hearing, Walden also stressed the need to accelerate the cleanup at the Hanford Site in Washington State. Walden and Secretary Perry toured the Hanford Site in 2017 to receive an update on the progress of cleanup efforts.

“This is of particular interest to me, as you know, given the Hanford Site sits across the Columbia River from my district,” said Walden. “You and I saw firsthand the vast scope of the work that remains, and I would like to hear from you how you plan to accelerate cleanup.”

Secretary Perry said that the administration’s budget devotes significant resources to the Hanford cleanup.

“The Budget Request includes $1.4 billion for the Office of River Protection at the Hanford Site for continued work at the Hanford Tank Farms and to make progress on the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant,” said Mr. Perry. “This budget will continue progress toward important cleanup.”

Last week, Representative Walden raised concerns that cleanup efforts at Hanford are being hampered in part by a lack of accurate progress reporting from the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management -- or EM – according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that Walden called for in 2017.