Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Important Year for Klamath Dam Removal


Last week the Department of the Interior released a preliminary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the effects of dam removal in the Klamath. The EIS comes to several conclusions which are favorable for dam removal. Not surprisingly it predicts improved abundance of salmon in the Klamath in the event of dam removal however more surprising and positive is the conclusion by the Department of the Interior that dam removal would likely cost significantly less than previously projected with the estimated price tag dropping from $450 million to $290 million. While the EIS appears to be indication that the department is in favor of supporting the deal ironed out among the states, fishermen, irrigators and the owner of the dams PacifiCorp the deal would still have to be authorized by Congress.

While money for the dam removal would come from ratepayers and state governments, the federal government would likely have to contribute some to the post removal restoration and monitoring and Congressional authorization could be a tough sell in an ideologically polarized environment like the House. Should Congress fail to authorize by March of 2012 the parties to the deal will have to go back to the drawing board and hope that eventually, national politics can catch up with the regional consensus.

More on the EIS from the E&E greenwire:

http://www.nwra.org/content/articles/removing-klamath-dams-will-cost-less-than-expected/

and from OPB:

http://earthfix.opb.org/energy/article/congress-must-approve-klamath-dam-deal-by-march/

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