New Trump Budget Proposes Selling Off Much Of Northwest Power Grid

May 24, 2017

Tucked into President Donald Trump’s new budget, which was released Tuesday, is a proposal for the government to sell off power lines that deliver electricity to Idaho.

The budget summary says the government could make $4.9 billion by selling the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission assets over a 10-year period. Around $1.8 billion of that could come in two years.

The Oregonian/OregonLive website reports Bonneville is publicly owned and is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. The BPA’s transmission system covers 300,000 square miles and delivers power from 31 hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin to 12 million people.

Bonneville sells to Idaho, and the majority of power used in Idaho Falls comes from the BPA. About 30 percent of all the power used in the Pacific Northwest, and 75 percent of the high-voltage transmission lines, come from the BPA.

Opponents to the Trump Administration's idea say it could drive up energy costs, harm rural communities and hurt reliability in remote areas of the system.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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