June 06, 2017

Wyden on Energy Department Nominee: Selling off Bonneville Power is a Nonstarter

Citing concerns about energy price hikes for Pacific Northwest ratepayers, Wyden votes against Energy Department Nominee

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today voted against four Trump administration nominees that would have sweeping control over energy costs, future energy infrastructure projects and public lands, in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting.

Wyden said he voted against the nominee to be the deputy secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, because Brouillette did not commit to working to keep Bonneville Power Administration in public ownership, in a written answer to a question from Wyden.

In May, Wyden blasted the Trump administration’s recent proposal to privatize Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) transmission assets.

“Pacific Northwesterners have fought this battle before and we’re going to fight these malicious efforts again. BPA is a key part of Oregon’s economic future, and selling most of it off to the highest bidder would strangle the power supply for businesses and stretch the wages of working families in the Northwest,” Wyden said. “I cannot support a nominee who won’t even say whether he opposes a proposal that would hike energy prices for Northwest customers who have invested in a system that runs successfully on its own.”

Wyden also voted against David Bernhardt, the nominee to be the deputy secretary of the Interior Department, citing concerns about his potential conflicts of interest.

Additionally, Wyden voted against two nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In a statement on Monday, he raised concerns about the nominees’ commitment to remaining independent in the face of political pressure from the White House on decisions about future energy projects.

Wyden is a senior Democrat and the former chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.