Document Type


Publication Title

Washington Law Review

Journal Abbreviation

Wash. L. Rev.


This article traces the origins and development of the Pacific Northwest's hydroelectric system from its Progressive Era roots to the New Deal and beyond up to and including the enactment of the 1980 Northwest Power Act. The article includes the rise of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the movement to electrify rural areas of the region, and the effects of World War II and the Columbia River Treaty with Canada, ratified in the 1960s. The motivating force behind the enactment of the 1980 statute--the rise and fall of BPA's Hydro-Thermal Power Program--is also spotlighted. The article maintains that anyone wishing to understand the complex workings of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric system must understand how the system originated and grew over the years prior to the Northwest Power Act.

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