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Observers unsure what application withdrawal means

By Ty BEAVER Herald and News 7/17/08

   Jim Cook said itís possible PacifiCorpís withdrawal of a water quality application for its Klamath River dams may be routine, but he doesnít think so.
   He believes it indicates the company is seriously considering removing or transferring ownership of its four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
   ďI donít know if itís a likely possibility, but PacifiCorp is getting significant pressure from the president and the two governors,Ē said the Siskiyou County supervisor.
   Others involved in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement said they arenít sure what role the withdrawal plays in ongoing talks about the dams. The company has said withdrawing similar applications is a common practice in dam re-licensing efforts and that it intends to resubmit one in the future, possibly unchanged.
   Water quality certification is necessary for PacifiCorp to continue using the dams, which are a key component of the agreement. Proponents want them removed to restore passage for migratory fish and aid habitat restoration.
   Released Jan. 15
   Released Jan. 15, the agreement also calls for a variety of other projects and actions to allocate water among Klamath River Basin communities, including money to help pay for purchase of private land for the Klamath Tribes and establishment of a stable power rate for irrigators.
   Cook said he feels itís become federal and state policy to advocate dam removal, a position he is against. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted not to endorse the settlement agreement, specifically because it seeks dam removal.
   Removing the dams would have several consequences, Cook said, including putting more strain on Californiaís energy grid because Siskiyou County would have to bring in power rather than use power generated by the dams.
   Klamath County Commissioner John Elliott and Klamath Tribes council member Jeff Mitchell said they couldnít comment on how the application withdrawal would play out though they know talks are ongoing.
   ďIt indicates that they are dialing in, but weíre anxious to see where it goes,Ē Mitchell said.
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