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KRRC's liaison visiting Basin

by HOLLY DILLEMUTH, Herald and News Feb 8, 2018

Klamath River Renewal Corporation, an independent, Bay-area-based non-profit, has a new community liaison, and he’s visiting the Klamath Basin this week.

Dave Meurer, who was hired on with the nonprofit in January, will speak at a private luncheon today with community leaders in Klamath Falls and will tour the Iron Gate dam with H&N staffers on Friday.

He plans to hold a community meeting open to the public at a date in the near future.

Meurer’s main job is to serve as a communication point person with interested parties and communities impacted by the pending removal of four dams along the Klamath River: J.C. Boyle, Copco 1 and 2 and Iron Gate dam.

He comes to the post with more than two decades experience working for state legislators representing Siskiyou County in California, and a familiarity with issues in the Klamath Basin.

Meurer said he was “immediately” interested in the community liaison position, while he also knew it would be “wildly unpopular” to some opposed to dam removal.

“I expressed interest in joining (KRRC) because I am interested in bringing peace to the region and I know a lot of the players in California,” Meurer said.

“I’m going to be spending a lot of time up here to get to know folks and listen, but my personal interest: Even though we are the dam removal entity, is to see and to help facilitate by our mere existence and our project, folks getting back to the table to care of issues that are not taken care of.”

Meurer expressed deep commitment that dam removal would have positive impacts on the basin, especially as part of a longterm agreement.

“I quit my job and gave up some retirement early based on my belief that this (dam removal) is going to happen,” Meurer said. “I am utterly convinced that this project is moving forward.”

Meurer believes the court-ordered 50,000 acre feet of “flushing flows” likely wouldn’t be needed if the dams were decommissioned.

“They create water quality problems,” Meurer said of the dams.

“On the basis alone of dam removal, we take pressure off of ag.”

Meurer said now there are two separate but interrelated applications pending action by FERC in order for dam removal, slated to begin in 2020, to move forward.

“Application No. 1 is called the transfer application, and the question before FERC is, will you allow Pacificorp to transfer its current license, the license for these four facilities, will you allow Pacificorp to transfer that license to KRRC?” Meurer said.

“And FERC needs to look at the competancy of whatever entity would be receiving that license,” Meurer added.

“This is different because you’re not going from another energy entity to another established energy entity.”

AECOM has a strong track record on dam removal, according to Meurer.

“We’ve retained lawyers who are experts in the FERC process,” Meurer said.

“We’re retaining and hiring out whatever expertise we need to show FERC this organization has a very deep bench, and it’s competant to receive the license.”

If KRRC’s application to receive the dam’s ownership is approved by FERC, Pacificorp would retain operation of the dams until they are removed, according to Meurer.

(A Thursday article, “KRRC's liaison visiting basin,” should have reported that removal of four dams along the Klamath River — J.C. Boyle, Copco 1 and 2, and Iron Gate — is anticipated to cost between $290 million and $300 million. The KRRC has $450 million at its disposal for dam removal — a cap of $200 million from surcharges paid by PacifiCorp rate payers and up to $250 million from California bonds.)

Earlier in the week, Meurer met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. He also listened in on a teleconference between a consultation between the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and FERC staff.



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