Chugach Electric board has special meeting Monday to confer secretly on Eklutna dam issues, and talk about nominating committee procedures

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The board of Chugach Electric Association, the leading electric utility serving the Anchorage area, has called for a special meeting of its board members on Monday, Feb. 12, starting at 4 p.m. The meeting will be in the boardroom at the Association’s headquarters, 5601 Electron Drive in Anchorage. 

The primary focus of the meeting was initially about the future of the Eklutna Dam, a vital energy source contributing 6% of Southcentral’s power supply as well 90% of Anchorage’s drinking water, a hydro project that has garnered attention from environmental activists and the liberal majority of the Anchorage Assembly, which advocates for its removal and the restoration of salmon runs to Eklutna Lake.

Chugach Electric Association is a major shareholder in the Eklutna Hydropower Project along with Matanuska Electric Association, having bought out the Municipality’s shares during the sale of Municipal Light & Power to Chugach Electric in 2019. The sale was approved by voters in Anchorage in 2018.

The Eklutna Hydroelectric Project is the lowest cost power in Southcentral Alaska and is about approximately 25% of Chugach’s renewable generation portfolio. It helps establish reliability in the electric grid in Anchorage and supplies 90% of the domestic water supply for Anchorage.

However, the agenda has expanded to include discussions regarding the Nominating Committee, with additional items concerning interviews, deliberations, and voting procedures.

Last week, nominating committee member Leslie Ridle resigned from the committee because it was conducting interviews for potential board of director candidates in closed session.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the inclusion of the Nominating Committee topic on the agenda could signal a debate about the Chugach Electric board’s internal decision-making processes.

“Given the significance of both the Eklutna Dam and the nominating committee’s role in ensuring that the co-op is run by solid, qualified individuals, this special meeting holds substantial importance for Chugach Electric and the broader Anchorage community,” said a source close to the organization.

The Nominating Committee’s proceedings, specifically regarding interviews, deliberations, and voting, are done privately for several reasons:

  • Historically, interviews have been conducted behind closed doors to prevent unfair advantages for candidates who might tailor their responses based on preceding interviews.
  • Concerns have been raised about the potential for Chugach members, media representatives, or special interest groups to report on candidate responses, compromising the integrity of the selection process.
  • Maintaining confidentiality during interviews safeguards candidates from potential embarrassment or reputational harm.
  • Committee members seek the freedom to engage in candid discussions without fear of reprisal from external stakeholders, including the media, the board, employers, and Chugach staff.
  • Previous incidents of candidate volatility have underscored the importance of ensuring the safety of committee members.
  • Allowing candidate supporters to observe deliberations might unduly influence the decision-making process.
  • While voting is slated to occur in an open session, the decision to conduct it via secret ballot aims to shield committee members from external pressures and potential repercussions.

Those interested in observing or participating in the special meeting can attend in person. If they wish to speak, they must fill out a participation form: https://www.chugachelectric.com/meeting-participation-form 

The agenda for the meeting is at this link. 

The organization does not post its meetings on its Facebook page but the meetings are open to the public.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Careful review of Chugach Electric’s purchase of ML&P and their share of Eklutna Hydro shows that the Chugach Board entered into a deal where they have to pay for Eklutna Hydro even if the dam is removed. This payment is for 30+ years and all rate payers are on the hook.

  2. It would be nice if the public would be made aware of the hidden agenda behind the dam removal efforts. You can be sure that it has nothing to do with fish, other than smelling fishy. Real estate development would probably be more likely. And a major cost to taxpayers of course. The removal of the dam cannot be done but a large settlement is probably the goal, and we will all pay for it. The scope of this goes way beyond the local government level so we can hope that the federal government will be investigating.

    • I don’t think it’s for basic corruption, such as real estate.

      I don’t think there is much of a plan outside of a perception of following the climate cult and the general destruction of our civilization.

      > the federal government will be investigating.

      There will be no cavalry coming over the hill to save us. We are on our own. We have to be our own leaders.

  3. Call the Board Members personally and express your thoughts // opinions:
    … Sam Cason @ 907-980-1274
    … Sisi Cooper @ 907-257-9210
    … Rachel Morse @ 907-444-8764
    … Sue Fleek-Green @ 907-770-7088
    … Bettina Chastain @ 907-885-1130
    … Mark Wiggin @ 907-244-5041
    … Jim Nordlund @ 907-952-9482

  4. The “dam removal” is not even a legal option. What it really is asking is to stop using the lake as an energy reservoir for hydro-power production thus mothballing the Eklutna Power plant.
    And to eliminate the best “green energy” source we have is antithetical to their claim that green energy can replace fossil fuels.
    I like the idea of maintaining a minimum stream flow in the upper reach of Eklutna River but there are better options than presented thus far.

  5. A secret meeting packed with IBEW sympathizers and henchmen? What could possibly go wrong? I’m sure that each and every decision they make will have the best interests of Alaskans and rate payers in mind. Question is: why isn’t the Regulatory Commission of Alaska or the Alaska Public Interest Research Group wailing about or investigating this?

  6. Why does Ship Creek have a dam in the mountains just like Eklutna River, yet still supports chinook and coho runs hailed far and wide as the only such urban salmon fishery in North America? The Army dam has not destroyed the fishery. The Chugach Electric dam is even still there in the downtown area.
    The Eklutna dam removal game has nothing to do with fish. It’s a political chess move. A real good investigation is in order to figure out who and why.

    • The Ship Creek dam used to be the main source of water for Anchorage. I don’t think even the Base uses it as a source anymore.
      So the Ship Creek dam always discharged water to feed Ship Creek whereas Eklutna River is completely starved of the Lake water.

  7. The Eklutna Dam fiasco is just another money grab by certain parties. The more important question is, Does AWWU still write checks to Chagach, like it used to do for ML&P, for the water taken from Eklutna Lake for Anchorage? I believe that is the “secret” contract everyone was running around with their hair on fire about last week.

  8. The MOA Assembly Report indicating using the AWWU Portal may not provide the mitigation anticipated and more study is warranted prior to making final decisions.

    • There is effectively NO ‘mitigation’ needed there, as Eklutna Lake has always been biologically essentially dead, due to extremely high turbidity, and NO salmon could have ever spawned there. As for the creek (NOT “river”) bed, it is extremely narrow and rocky, and has never provided any significant salmon spawning habitat, either. State of Alaska biologists estimate that if the dam were completely removed, at most several DOZEN additional salmon might spawn in the lower reaches of the creek bed. So are a few additional salmon, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars PER fish in lost electrical generation, really worth it?

  9. Just like Washington state. They think if they destroy all the hydro dams, which also provide food transportation and irrigation, the salmon will all magically reappear. Pollution (all those shore bound homeless camps), nature out of balance, overfishing, and poaching by foreign nations is the real culprit.

  10. I heard that trout unlimited is involved with push to remove the dam. If that’s the case!? Let me just say that trout unlimited was opposed to the 1st phase of the restoration of resurrection Creek in Hope Alaska. This was one largest restoration projects in the America. Through tailing piled left behind by the miners back in the day. All because it was not their project. A cooperative project by many great sponsors.

    • Kelly, indeed, the pro-globalist grout Trout Unlimited is in fact using the tiny Eklutna Native Association as their ignorant pawns in their nefarious plot to destroy the Eklutna dam and, necessarily, the Eklutna power plant as well. All for the putative and theoretical benefit of restoring, get this, several DOZEN spawning salmon into the Eklutna Creek (not “River”) watershed.

      I was at the Birchwood Community Council meeting several weeks ago, at which the representative of Trout Unlimited spoke in favor of their destructionistic agenda, and her presentation was literally packed with half-truths and outright lies. Fortunately, several other members of the public, aside from myself, were there to challenge and correct her misrepresentations and lies to the community council board.

  11. I love secret conferences. They are just so…community affirming. We’re all in this together except for the Davos, internationalies strategy cohorts. I will not type further on this.

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