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DeFazio's Request For South Coast FERC Hearing Granted

11/13/06 WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio's request for a South Coast hearing on recommendations for management of the Klamath River was granted last week, helping to ensure Oregon fishing families' voices are heard. The hearing is scheduled for November 29th in North Bend.

DeFazio sent a letter last month to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting an additional hearing to discuss FERC's Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Klamath Hydroelectric Project's request for a new operating license. The statement includes recommendations from federal agents, including NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Land and Management, on a variety of conditions for re-licensing of the project. Some of these conditions could improve salmon runs and help fishing families and coastal communities that rely on them. FERC can accept or reject the conditions proposed by other federal agencies. It can also build on those conditions and recommend further changes in management.

In addition to the North Bend hearing, FERC has scheduled four hearings to discuss re-licensing the Klamath River dams, which are owned by Pacificorp. Three hearings are scheduled in California—two in Yreka and one in Eureka—and one other hearing is scheduled in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Earlier this year, the salmon fishing season along the Oregon and Northern California coasts was closed, and the Department of Commerce declared a fishing disaster. Management of the Klamath was an underlying factor in the closure of the fishing season, causing an estimated $60 million in damage to the commercial fishing industry.

With the addition of the North Bend hearing to the schedule, the deadline for submitting written comments to FERC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended until December 1st.

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