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:


1 comment:

Felice Pace said...

The dams will come down because if they were relicensed under current law they would lose $20 million a year. With Warren Buffett behind it, PacifiCorp has negotiated a sweetheart deal to offload the non-performing assets. Clever feds and their "diverse" allies want to hitch a bad water deal to that train.

A deal that puts privileged federal irrigators ahead of fish, that ignores the best science, and that favors some tribal, irrigation and environmental interests over other tribal, irrigation and environmental interests will not restore the Klamath River or recover Klamath Salmon.

Delay congress after congress seeking bad legislation in a divided Congress is what PacifiCorp wants. If that happens they continue to operate salmon-killing dams at a profit, i.e. status quo, without having to make the changes already ordered in the FERC process.

The quickest path to dam removal is to get back to the normal FERC process as soon as possible.

Now is when we see who really cares about Klamath Salmon and who cares more about their narrow self-interest. If those so-called salmon champions like PCFFA and the Yurok Tribe refuse to go back to FERC and insist on waiting for the next election in hope of getting their self-serving deals through Congress, they will be complicit in killing Klamath Salmon.