Fall River CEO meets with Interior Secretary Zinke

Courtesy of Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative CEO Bryan Case, right, is pictured with U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke in Zinke’s Washington, D.C., office in late June. courtesy Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative

Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative’s CEO/General Manager Bryan Case met with U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke in late June in Washington, D.C.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson and two association board members, Case and Jeff Peterson, of the Utah Rural Electric Cooperative Association, participated in an energy CEO meeting with Zinke in support of reforms to federal land management practices and to modernize Endangered Species Act regulations, a co-op news release said. Case also spoke to encourage efforts to protect the value of the Federal Columbia River Hydro Power System of which the Bureau of Reclamation operates 10 federal dams.

Matheson, Case and Peterson explained the need for changes that allow timely access to power lines and rights-of-way on public lands for repairs, maintenance, vegetation management and emergency response, the release said. They emphasized reducing permit and environmental review timelines for electric infrastructure projects that would boost grid reliability, as well as streamlining reviews for smaller projects.

The potential benefit of this meeting for members of Fall River Electric was the additional discussion to help keep Bonneville Power Administration rates competitive (BPA is Fall River’s primary wholesale power provider), to encourage ongoing support by the department of the federal hydropower system and to request better access for co-op crews that have to pass through federal properties to work on co-op facilities, the release said.