Is the ‘Green’ Majority on Chugach Electric Board Fixing to Destroy an Existing Clean-Energy Solution?

Is the ‘Green’ Majority on Chugach Electric Board Fixing to Destroy an Existing Clean-Energy Solution?

May 26, 2023

Power is attained by having those who support you show up.

In the case of the Chugach Electric board, the recent election results flipped the makeup of the directors, with a clear majority of ‘environment-above-all’ zealots now in charge.  Now that they have power, expect plenty of off-the-wall topics discussed, and shenanigans abound to come up at board meetings.

We already have our first.  In what – at best – can be considered suspicious timing, their initial meeting in command was also the night a letter from U.S. Congresswoman Mary Peltola hit their private board packets.

As first reported in Must Read Alaska, the letter makes demands of the Chugach (and Matanuska Electric) board(s), calling not only for the potential destruction of a hydroelectric-producing dam across the Eklutna River, but also reparations for the 70-resident Native Village of Eklutna (NVE) for “drying up the Eklutna River for the past 70 years.”

The letter makes no mention of the cooperative approach the utilities have been taking during the prescribed study phase for mitigation efforts included in the 1991 Fish and Wildlife agreement, including NVE and other key stakeholders in discussions about the future of the dam system which was first deployed in 1953 by the federal government.  The project not only provides a renewable source of power to Southcentral residents and businesses, but it is also part of the system that provides drinking water to Anchorage and the surrounding area.

While no reparation totals are noted in the letter, it is clear that Peltola expects significant payments made for the damage she claims the hydro project has done to historical salmon runs that negatively impacted NVE.

Elections have consequences, and utility boards, who generally operate in near-anonymity, are now squarely in the crosshairs of eco- and social-justice movements. Peltola’s letter surely puts Chugach and Matanuska Electric ratepayers on notice to be vigilant in watching their respective boards’ reactions to the letter, as any reparations will certainly cause rates and monthly bills to increase.