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Removal of dam a dangerous decision

June 19, 2009 Statesman Journal Op-Ed by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor 5th District

Let's call the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement what it is: many wolves and a sheep sitting down to decide what's for dinner.

It's a trade where special interests bargained away the health, safety and property of those not permitted to participate in the back room secretive process. True to form, the federal and state governments appear intent upon abandoning the commitments they have made to adequately address the human and environmental damage caused by dam removal.

Those at the table are beating a fast retreat from financial liability and accountability for their dealings. This leaves the people of Siskiyou County holding the bag for restoration of the raw open scars of drained reservoirs and recovery from the impacts of sediment, which is likely toxic.

To add to the burden, there is no plan to compensate property owners around the reservoirs for the loss of their property values or Siskiyou County for the significant loss of tax revenues.

Although this deal with the devil gives lip service to a cost/benefit process, it's obvious that major players consider dam removal a done deal. Definitive scientific studies supporting the proposal are absent. What we have is an accumulated pile of biased reports commissioned by dam removal advocates intent upon stacking the deck in favor of removal. We also have a suppression of scientific analysis that points toward some serious impacts to human health and the environment impacts that would add hundreds of millions of dollars to the costs of dam removal.

5th District Supervisor Marcia Armstrong, Yreka

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