GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A federal appeals court has dismissed a
bid by farmers in the upper Klamath Basin to continue
bargain rates for electricity they use to pump irrigation
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit ruled Friday, July 25, that the states of Oregon and
California have jurisdiction over electric rates.
The three-judge panel dismissed the lawsuit brought by the
Klamath Water Users Association against the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission for lack of standing.
PacifiCorp had refused to renew a 1956 contract that gave
about 1,000 farmers on the Klamath Reclamation Project very
low rates for electricity to pump irrigation water, arguing
they would lose millions of dollars. The Portland-based
utility did agree to phase in market rates over several
years. FERC refused to incorporate the cheap electric rates
into conditions for a new operating license being sought by
PacifiCorp to operate hydroelectric dams on the Klamath
Scott Seus, who farms on the irrigation project, said they
were disappointed in the ruling, but were still hoping to
get low-cost power from negotiations over a proposal to
remove the dams to restore salmon in the Klamath River.
PacifiCorp spokesman Art Sasse said they had not seen the
ruling yet and could not comment on it.
The utility has been in talks with state and federal
agencies over the dam removal proposal.
Tom Schlossear, attorney for the Hoopa Tribe, said the
ruling was a victory for tribes working to restore
struggling salmon runs.
"This is an important ruling, because given the problems
fish are having in the Klamath system, we shouldn't be
subsidizing the withdrawal of water," Schlosser said. "This
prevents the continuation of a subsidy that has been part of