Bill Booth, a former Hecla Mining Co. executive, has been appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Booth is one of two Idaho representatives on the four-state council, which is charged with balancing the region’s need for low-cost hydropower with protecting endangered salmon runs.
“I think my background is a good fit for it,” Booth said. “I have a fairly broad Idaho perspective, having lived here for 45 years and having worked primarily in natural resource industries.”
Gov. Butch Otter appointed Booth to the three-year term, which pays $91,100 annually. Booth will replace Judi Danielson, a former state senator from southern Idaho. Representatives from Washington, Oregon and Montana also sit on the council.
Congress created the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in 1980. The council has dual missions. It is charged with developing 20-year plans to ensure that Northwest residents have access to inexpensive electricity, while protecting and rebuilding fish and wildlife populations hurt by hydropower generation.
“We’re trying to do as much good for fish and wildlife affected by the dams while ensuring that we keep the lights on,” said John Harrison, NWPCC spokesman.
The council’s role is advisory. The federal Bonneville Power Administration, which generates about 40 percent of the electricity used in the Northwest, is required to make decisions consistent with the council’s recommendations. The council also gives guidance to private utilities, such as Avista Corp., on fish and wildlife issues, Harrison said.
Booth, 55, retired from Hecla as vice president of environmental and governmental affairs in 2002. He’s spent the last four years working for American Stock Transfer and Trust, a New York-based firm that helps public companies with administrative responsibilities for managing their shareholder base.
Booth grew up on an 80-acre ranch near Post Falls. He earned an MBA from the University of Idaho and served on the transition team for Otter, who was elected last November.