SEATTLE, WA – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and the entire Washington Congressional Delegation sent Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Administrator John Hairston a letter regarding the reopening of the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, Washington. The Members urged BPA to negotiate in good faith with Blue Wolf Capital Partners to secure a competitive power deal to reopen Intalco and restore the hundreds of good-paying, union jobs that were lost by its closure in 2020.

“When the Intalco aluminum smelter shut down, Washington state lost an important economic driver and source of jobs. Employing 700 union members, the facility was the only source of domestically produced aluminum west of the Mississippi River – a huge boon to our local economy and our nation’s aerospace and transportation sectors,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash). “The reopening of Intalco would mean an influx of economic activity for the region. I urge BPA to work in partnership with Blue Wolf to bring these negotiations across the finish line and secure this win for our region and our country.”

In 2020, Alcoa shut down operations at the Intalco plant, one of the largest employers in Whatcom County, resulting in the loss of over 700 good-paying union jobs in the rural community along with significant economic activity in the area. Many of these workers were forced to take jobs with lower wages and benefits and commute longer distances to make ends meet.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and work to forge more resilient supply chains, reopening Intalco is an incredible opportunity to bring back over 700 family-wage union jobs and restore the only source of domestically produced aluminum west of the Mississippi River,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to BPA. “Restarting Intalco would allow Washingtonians to return to these high-paying jobs, reinvigorate our economy, and secure our domestic production capacity to make aluminum in America for years to come.”

The Intalco facility also serves a vital role by helping ensure we can produce enough domestic aluminum to meet our country’s national security and critical infrastructure needs and push back against the Chinese government’s unfair trade practices in this sector. 

“Additionally, ensuring that the United States maintains sufficient domestic aluminum production is in our national security interests, as aluminum is used in defense, aerospace, and many other critical infrastructure sectors,” the lawmakers continued.

The letter was led by Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01). Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Adam Smith (WA-09), and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) also joined the letter.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.