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Bell v. Bonneville Power Admin.

Citation: 33 ELR 20261
No. Nos. 01-70616, -71369, (9th Cir., 08/21/2003)

The court denies a utility reform group's petition challenging power sale contract amendments between the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and several direct service industries. In response to an energy crisis, the BPA developed a load reduction program that provided for consumer conservation, reduction in power demand by utilities, and load curtailment by direct service industries. BPA accomplished the load curtailment program by paying direct service industries to agree to amend their contracts with the BPA so that the BPA would be excused from its contractual obligations to supply power at the contract rate. The group sought review of the curtailment amendments. The curtailment agreements, however, are clearly within the BPA’s authority, and its decision to amend the contracts was not arbitrary or capricious. In addition, on the facts, the BPA’s curtailment agreements were not rates subject to the Regional Act's ratemaking procedures. The transactions were separate in time, environment, and consideration. Therefore, the curtailment amendments were not inextricably linked with the original contract’s ratemaking provisions. Last, the group lacked standing to bring a National Environmental Policy Act claim against the BPA because it failed to demonstrate how the amendments caused the environmental damage they allege.

Counsel for Petitioners
Daniel Meek
Law Offices of Daniel Meek
10949 SW 4th Ave., Portland OR 97219
(503) 293-9021

Counsel for Respondent
David J. Adler, Special Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
1000 SW Third Ave., Ste. 600, Portland OR 97204
(503) 727-1000