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marcia8.jpg.jpg (10768 bytes) Ridin' Point

- a weekly column published in the Pioneer Press

by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor 12/12/08

Dams: PacifiCorp Vice President Dean Brockbank addressed the Board of Supervisors concerning the Agreement In Principle ( >AIP ) recently signed for the four lower dams on the Klamath River. The parties to this agreement are PacifiCorp, the Governors of California and Oregon> and the Department of Interior.

Although there has been a great deal of pressure on the utility by both States and the Bush Administration to remove the dams, Brockbank stated that the AIP is not a dam removal agreement. It is an agreement that “contemplates” dam removal only if certain conditions are met. 

PacifiCorp stated that in coming to the agreement, it had assessed various risks: (1) The potential cost of relicensing, (fish screens, fish ladders and water quality measures,) appears prohibitive; (2) Instream flow and other permitting conditions may reduce the amount of electricity that could be generated, rendering the operation financially non-viable;  (3) Both States must provide 401 Clean Water Act certification for dams and hydro facilities in order for the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) relicensing to occur and it appeared there might be difficulty with California; and (4) There is a  risk of litigation.

The AIP will impose several conditions that are to be met before the Secretary of Interior makes a decision whether or not to proceed with dam removal. Certain legislation must be passed on State and federal levels. In a span of about three years and under the oversight of the Bureau of Reclamation, studies will be done to include: (1) An analysis of the impacts of dam removal on the Klamath Project and the entire Klamath River system; (2) Assessment of costs and liabilities of dam removal; (3) engineering; and (4) various scientific studies.  

In the next several months, a final hydropower agreement will be hammered out by a group that will consist of parties that crafted the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. 

Siskiyou County Economic Development Council (SCEDC): The SCEDC was recently honored for its outstanding website http://www.siskiyoucounty.org/ One of the exciting features is the “Prospector” – a search engine for business properties available in our countywide Enterprise Zone. Another feature of the Prospector is the capability to create demographic and business reports. Check it out!

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