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PacifiCorp initiates KHSA dispute resolution
Klamath River — PacifiCorp, owner of four Klamath River dams slated for possible removal under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, has issued a notice of initiation of dispute resolution in response to conditions that spokesman Art Sasse said could possibly delay the removal of the dams.
According to the dispute resolution notice, PacifiCorp has brought the matter because it believes that the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the National Marine Fisheries Service have recommended reduced flows at Iron Gate Dam without coordination with the company.
“The flow reduction recommended by Reclamation, NMFS and a technical workgroup was developed without the involvement of or participation by PacifiCorp,” the notice reads. “Implementation of reduced flows as directed by Reclamation will materially impact PacifiCorp’s generation at the Project in a manner that conflicts with the KHSA.”
The BOR, in its letter explaining the new flow recommendations, states that the new flows were designed to respond to low surface elevation levels in Upper Klamath Lake in accordance with NMFS’ 2010 Biological Opinion, which directs management strategies for aquatic biological resources.
Under KHSA dispute resolution rules, the parties must hold at least two informal meetings within 45 days of the issuance of a notice of dispute resolution.
PacifiCorp’s notice states that it wants the BOR to rescind its flow directive and for both agencies to “refrain from further action on flow variability and delay exchange of further correspondence on this subject until the parties can resolve the dispute,” also requesting that the company be included in any further flow discussions “that could affect power generation at PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric projects.”
Because the modified flows were already implemented – PacifiCorp having been directed Jan. 4 to implement them – the parties were scheduled to hold a meeting Wednesday in Medford, Ore.
Sasse said Wednesday, “Until we get everyone on the same page we’re caught between [Endangered Species Act] coverage issues, enough water for agriculture and the economics for our customers as well as the long-term economics for dam removal itself.”
Sasse continued, stating that if the new flows are implemented permanently and the decision is made to remove the dams next year, the proposed removal date of 2020 could possibly be pushed back due to the created economic conditions.
– David Smith can be reached at email@example.com
Page Updated: Friday January 14, 2011 03:08 AM Pacific
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