WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of Redmond-based Central Electric Cooperative testified in front of a House Subcommittee Wednesday, calling for better access to federally managed lands. CEO Dave Markham spoke in support of House Resolution 2358. He testified on negative interactions he's had in the past with the U.S. Forest Service. "It's with a lot of reluctance that I say, as far as the BLM and the Forest Service, we continue to see a significant falling short of what I believe is acceptable for helping our cooperatives give safe, affordable and reliable electricity to our members."
Markham said the "Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act" would force agencies to provide electric co-ops with more timely access to power lines on public land and rights of way.
He testified that CEC has faced recent delays on one necessary project, due to federal roadblocks. "We've been waiting for nearly two years now, to replace a short 1.2-mile section of underground cable that's been in place for 45 years. It's in deteriorating condition. On top of that, we've been experiencing additional delays because we were recently informed that we'd have to have an archeological study done." Markham said that study could cost up to $87,000.
Central Electric Cooperative serves an over 5,300 square mile territory in Central Oregon.