Whenever a new president enters the White House and starts flipping switches, at least one sends a jolt surging out to the Bonneville Power Administration, the most important and far-reaching federal agency in the Northwest.
The political lines from Washington, D.C., to Portland already are crackling with speculation about how the BPA will change, and who will lead it, under President-elect Barack Obama. The public does not yet understand the implications of these questions, but the answers will affect every power bill, every business, every person, in the Northwest.
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer was the first of the region’s elected leaders to muse out loud about the future of the BPA and its chief executive, Steve Wright. Last week, after a speech at the City Club of Portland, Blumenauer told The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes, “I’d be stunned if there isn’t a change” at the agency. In a later conversation, Blumenauer said his focus is on changing the BPA’s mission, not necessarily its administrator, having the agency lead the region, and the nation, on green energy.