Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Klamath Dam Removal Legislation Introduced in Congress
Bills introduced last week in the House and Senate seek federal authorization and funding for the removal of four dams in the Klamath Basin. Sponsored by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely in the Senate and California Congressman Mike Thompson in the House, the bills would authorize $536 million in federal funding for the project, authorizing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, commonly called the Klamath Accords.
This fall the Department of the Interior released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) indicating that they supported the removal of the four Klamath dams and that they total cost of the project might be significantly lower than previously projected. Still, Republican lawmakers who last year sought to kill Klamath Dam removal with riders attached to the House Appropriations bill remain adamantly opposed to the project meaning it faces an uphill battle in Congress.
Without authorization by 2012 the Klamath Settlement is nullified, something which could be a major setback to dam removal efforts.
More information from OPB's earthfix blog: