On October 31, 2009, the once largest aluminum plant in the world will shut down. With it goes another American industry and more American jobs. The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company in Montana will shut down its aluminum production because it cannot purchase the necessary electrical power to continue its operations.
How did this happen in America? America was once the envy of the world in its industrial capability. America's industrial capacity built America into the most productive nation the world had ever known. Its standard of living rose to levels never before accomplished. Its currency became valuable and powerful, allowing Americans to purchase imported goods at relatively cheap prices.
America grew because of innovation and hard work by the pioneers of the industrial revolution, and because America has vast natural resources. A great economy, as America once was, is founded on the ability to produce electrical energy at low cost. This ability has been extinguished. Why?
Columbia Falls Aluminum negotiated a contract with Bonneville Power Administration in 2006 for Bonneville to supply electrical power until September 30, 2011. But, responding to lawsuits, the 9th US Circuit Court ruled the contract was invalid because it was incompatible with the Northwest Power Act. Therefore, the combination of the Northwest Power Act and a US Circuit Court were the final villains that caused the shutdown of Columbia Falls Aluminum.