Grand Coulee Pump-Generating Plant Dedication Ceremony in Honor of John W. Keys III

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503

For Release: May 05, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation will host a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, May 12 at 1:00 p.m. to rename the Grand Coulee Dam Pump-Generating Plant in honor of former Commissioner John W. Keys III who was tragically killed in a plane crash May 30, 2008.

The ceremony will be held at the park adjacent to State Highway 155 behind the pump-generating plant where invited guests and dignitaries from around the Region and across the U.S. will gather.

Mr. Keys had 34 years of distinguished service with Reclamation. He capped his Federal career in Boise, Idaho, serving as Regional Director of the Pacific Northwest Region from June 1980 to June 1998. Following a brief retirement, he returned to federal service to serve as Commissioner from 2001 until his retirement in 2006.

"John Keys was a leader who recognized the value in treating others with mutual respect while staying focused on achieving success through cooperation in managing water in the American West," said Acting Commissioner of Reclamation Bill McDonald.

During the event dignitaries will unveil the new sign that will be affixed to the "John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant." The public will have an opportunity for a brief tour of the facility and to see a pictorial display honoring Mr. Keys.

Honored guests Dell Keys, widow of John W. Keys; and his daughter, Robin Fisher, are scheduled to be at the event.

Invited speakers include Ken Lane, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior; Acting Commissioner of Reclamation Bill McDonald; former Commissioner of Reclamation Robert Johnson; Dick Ericksen, representing three Columbia Basin Project Irrigation Districts: and Norm Semanko who will speak for Family Farm Alliance and National Water Resources Association.

In December 2008, former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced his approval for renaming the facility the "John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant" in honor of Mr. Keys.

The Pump-Generating Plant at Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1973. It contains 12 pumps that lift water from the Columbia River up the hillside to a canal that flows into Banks Lake, which provides irrigation water to over 670,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. Six of the pumps can be reversed to generate hydroelectricity when demand exists.

Grand Coulee Dam is located on the Columbia River in north central Washington. It was completed in 1942 and today serves as a multipurpose facility providing water for irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, hydroelectric power production, and flood control.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.