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Mukilteo Beacon
Mukilteo , Washington
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December 14, 2005     Mukilteo Beacon
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December 14, 2005
 

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I m De ember 14, 2005 Mukilteo Beacon- 5 I- L- 3 1 r, [- t ! eBoeQoeoe~ ooeOeooe.~omeQeweQ lS a This week my daughter turns 21, a big birthday if only in a statutory sense, and even that less than it used to be. Still, I've wandered back a bit, remembering other birthdays. Her first. Her fifth. Her 13th, when she behaved so obnoxiously I stormed out of the house and drove around the block to cool down. Her 18th, following a solo in "The Messiah" that afternoon, all glow and grace. The day she was born, the snow on the ground, the shaky night of labor, the post- partum room in which I carried her around, finally holding her up to dawn at a window, showing her the world. Although maybe she was asleep at the time. I could write about all of this, 21 years of fatherhood, the past one being from a distance, a year without seeing my girl and the joy we all feel as we look forward to her visit next week. I could tell you what I sent her for her birth- day, but she may read this online before the package gets there so I'll pass, I think. I could certainly tell you about my drive home that day, go- ing slowly on icy streets and listening to Christmas music on the radio--- Whoops. Sorry. I did it. I said the C-word. We're not allowed to, you know. Or you know if you've been watching Fox News or listening to Bill O'Reilly, or any num- ber of conservative Christian talking heads. There's a war on attack on the roots of the day over 90 percent of Americans mark on Dec. 25 in one way or the other. A certain department store chain has been targeted (yes, that's a pun) for asking its employees to say "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry well, you know. The other word. Even President Bush has come under fire for sending out politically correct cards this season, cards that also use the "Happy Holidays" phrase. I honestly don't know what I think is dumber, calling a Christmas (sue me) tree a "holiday tree" or filling the air- waves with fears about de-Christing Christmas, butboth have me shaking my head and smiling. Some controversies are just too something. Silly. Stupid. Fake. .S!GARS, PAGE. 9 m e,Q ' I e~l o'o Cost of regional fish programs could top $1 billion annually Snohomish County Public Utility District Cost estimates of the plaintiff's proposal, General Manager Ed Hansen today with- from BPA and electric utility trade groups, drew a rate decrease proposal in light of a range from $150 million to $500 million annu- pending decision in U.S. District Court that ally. The PUD would pay about 10 percent of could increase the Bonneville Power Adminis- these costs, expenses that would be imbedded tration's fish program expenses by up to $500 in what it pays BPA for wholesale electricity. million or more annually. In addition, under its current BPA con- The added expenses could push total costs tracts, the PUD would likely receive less en- of these programs to over $1 billion per year, ergy from BPA, forcing the utility to purchase Hansen said. additional energy in the secondary wholesale The impact to the PUD, BPA's larges.t cus- market. tomer, could be $50 million in added expenses According to PUD power supply staff, win- - or a total of more than $100 million annually ter prices in the secondary wholesale market to support fish programs, could be considerably higher in the coming The PUD Commission had been considering months. a 4 percent rate decrease for customers. The PUD has additional concerns that the However, facingthe threat of increased rates planfiff's proposal would decrease hydroelec- from BPA due to higher fish program costs, tric output and force the region to become the PUD Commission this week decided not to more dependent on fossil fuel sources such as adopt the rate decrease proposal at this time. coal and gas power plants. Despite controversy over the effectiveness These energy sources adversely affect air of changes to regional fish programs, environ- quality and the climate. mental and fishing groups, led by the National An evaluation of the plantiff's proposal by Wildlife Federation (NWF), have proposed NOAA Fisheries, the Corps of Engineers, Bu- boosting spill levels over hydroelectric dams reau of Reclamation and BPA raises similar and increasing river flows on the Columbia concerns about increased emissions from fos- and Snake Rivers startingin 2006. sil fuels. These measures reduce the amount of elec- It also notes that by decreasing hydroelec- tricity BPA can generate. The NWF and other tric output, fewer wind resources may be groups, plaintiffs in litigation over Columbia developed as hydro power and wind are lute- and Snake River operations, this fall filed a grated to meet regional power demands. preliminary injunction asking U.S. District While a decision by Judge Redden could be Court Judge James Redden to adjust the way appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Ap- the river systems and hydroelectric operations peals, any changes to operations on the Co- are managed, lumbia and Snake Rivers could become effec- Oral arguments are scheduled before U.S. tive as soon as early 2006. District Court Judge Redden on Dec. 15 in Or- If adopted, the plantiff's proposal could egon, with a subsequent decision coming at add immediate costs to the region's electric- any time. ity ratepayers. 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