Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Rex Cozzalio, 4th generation rancher on the
Klamath River at Hornbrook, to FERC/Federal Energy Regulatory
Commissioner Glick regarding the massive destruction and costs
to the communities, ecosystems, salmon, and people if Klamath
dams are destroyed. Days
later FERC approved destroying Klamath River dams, despite
science and vast opposition:
Unlike FERC Staff, Commissioners, or ANY of the KRRC/KHSA/Governor ‘Applicant’ Signatories, we are 4 generations living at the same location on the Klamath directly below where Iron Gate now sits at the rhetoric ‘focal point’ of Klamath ‘Dams’ impacts. I am ‘in the Klamath’ over 50 times a year for over 65 years, before and after Iron Gate, as my Grandfather before me. We have remained in our economically disadvantaged area primarily due to the love of the Klamath, her environment, and community. As such, we and the other regional multigenerationals personally sacrificed far more to enhance and preserve the Klamath environment over those generations than ANY of the self-benefitting ‘Signatories’ we never saw. At NO point do I remember a SINGLE ‘KRRC/KHSA Signatory’ currently pushing destruction standing by our sides in snow, droughts, and floods to physically and financially protect that environment at great personal cost. Childhood memories of discussions with my Grandfather’s resident friends, both Native and Settler, born locally in the 1800’s long before the Klamath Project and Copco, as well as equivalent experiences relayed by EVERY encountered local multigenerational family, and direct PERSONAL observations before and after Iron Gate, consistently describe the same massive environmental benefits, INCLUDING FISHERIES, provided the region and river by the dams and the ONLY deep water lakes on the entire Klamath, regardless of differences in individual backgrounds. As a consequence, residents, the community, and Agencies WITNESSING the massive environmental benefits publicly EXTOLLED the Project for decades prior to ‘rewilding’ agenda-created revisionist history, and if the current rhetoric agenda claims were even REMOTELY true as to the ‘modeled’ area history, ‘modeled science’, and ‘predicted benefits’, as a Project listed ‘intervener’, I would not be writing this or ANY of my past FERC dismissed submissions.
That regional experience is why those most knowledgeable and affected residents OFFICIALLY voted in super-majorities AGAINST Project destruction, which AT BEST would take the Klamath back to its previously experienced NATURALLY degraded inconsistent ‘salmon’ habitat condition at our location, and at worse will extirpate entire species, cost lost lives and property through multiple mechanisms, and further devastate an already economically disadvantaged region. In the FERC EIS pursuit of policy directed agenda outcome, FERC pointedly AVOIDED including required mitigations for those certain and potential damages as ‘beyond their authority’, while concurrently using the SAME authority to IMPLEMENT actions CIRCUMVENTING ANY ‘Applicant’ or Agency ACCOUNTABILITY for those majority damages. No doubt that is why in the ENTIRE EIS, that regional supermajority vote is only ONCE briefly referenced, buried in the Appendices by FERC Staff. After repeatedly ‘including’ pro-destruction opinions and unsupported selective ‘statistics’ of ‘Signatories’ and NGO affiliated individuals living a hundred to thousands of miles away into the text of the EIS, FERC then completely DISMISS as inconsequential the most knowledgeable and impacted official super majorities AGAINST destruction, and fail to even RECOGNIZE, much less RESPOND to the vast majority of their submitted statistics, recent empirical studies, and comments REFUTING proponent claims. In FACT, as was the case with the California EIS ‘coincidentally’ consistent with KRRC’s request, the FERC EIS specifically EXCLUDED effective consideration of the massive EMPIRICAL studies directly REFUTING agenda premise occurring over the last decade. In example of FERC’s myriad of continual EIS logical contradictions, depending upon their agenda-supportive objective, FERC rationalizes DISMISSING the most impacted Counties’ official supermajorities encompassing the entire Project and well over 2/3rds of the Klamath River since they were ONLY ‘advisory’ votes. That is odd, when at NUMEROUS points elsewhere FERC repeatedly ASSERTS FERC’s absolute ‘authority’ to ‘preempt’ local jurisdiction, leaving an ‘advisory vote’ as the ONLY option available to express their unchallengeable unequivocal opposition to Project destruction in the ONLY official votes throughout the entire FERC ‘process’. From one side of FERC’s mouth, they claim authority to assure protections for the public as conditions for ‘Project’ approval, but from the other side use that authority to literally and figuratively throw those most harmed to drown in a quagmire of physical, legal, and monetary loss, pitting those harmed against their own money confiscated to protect ‘Signatories’ held unaccountable for the damages they impose. In even greater irony, under the FERC License Transfer, EIS, and Surrender’s intentionally constructed travesty, the GREATER the future imposed ‘unmitigated’ regional damages and agenda environmental failure, the GREATER the resulting ‘Signatories’ benefit in future funding, personal position, and increased regulatory authority.
Rather than substantively addressing the acknowledged extensive unmitigated damages listed throughout the EIS, FERC Staff, severely unqualified to make subjective opinions regarding the largest Dam Project destruction in the known world, simply repeatedly regurgitates the same ‘we believe the long term benefits will outweigh the damages’. For WHOM and HOW, when even the KHSA proponent paid ‘Expert Panels’ to ‘support’ Secretarial ‘Determination’ could assert NO such ‘certainty’, even when ordered to ASSUME $2 BILLION in KBRA ‘congressionally approved’ funding and 100% ‘already completed’ and SUCCESSFUL watershed-wide undefined ‘restoration’ as the ‘presumptive’ decision basis? By the $2 Billion ‘requirement’ never materializing, and EVERY conceived ‘restoration’ experiment to date completely FAILING expectations, such as ‘instream treatment’ and re-created ‘marshlands’, the KHSA EIS preconditioned ‘conclusions’ of ‘benefit’ were completely NEGATED. IGNORING that fact, California Department of Water Resources (DWR), serving at the policy-directed appointed pleasure of the destruction ‘Agreement’ Signatory California Governor, indirectly ‘coincidentally’ honored KRRC’s request by NOT allowing a SINGLE DOLLAR to be budgeted for ‘research’ beyond that provided by KRRC and its decade-old ‘modeled’ KHSA EIS. Unsurprisingly, though legally REQUIRED to acknowledge PAGES of consequential ‘SIGNIFICANT UNMITIGATED damages’ and the ‘uncertainty of success’, DWR nonetheless ‘found in favor’ of destruction in an unaccountable OPINION claiming POSSIBLE FUTURE ‘benefit’. Given the conflict-of-interest directed DWR EIS effectively IGNORING a DECADE of intervening empirical studies, essentially slapping a more ‘recent’ date on the prior defective KHSA EIS, a deceptive ILLUSION of an ‘unbiased’ and ‘current’ EIS was created ‘supporting’ the KHSA/KRRC and Governor’s ‘Agreement’ of imposed destruction. In obvious mutual objectives, KRRC then ‘kindly provided’ FERC with those exclusionary EIS’s along with their selected reference list TITLES, presented as ‘robust’, ’adequate’, and ‘unnecessary to consider anything else’, ‘just to help save FERC time and effort’ and ‘spare them from having to read all the actual studies’. FERC Staff apparently ‘accepted’ the no longer applicable KHSA EIS/DWR EIS ‘conclusions’ and gilded ‘reference list’ as FERC’s premise for ‘determining’ POSSIBLE future benefit, just as KRRC, having the singular corporate objective of Project destruction regardless of consequences, asked them to do. Given those facts and based upon FERC disclosed expenditures allocating roughly 2 HOURS per page to research, write, cut and paste, review, edit, and publish the EIS, that ‘Surrender supporting’ predetermination and compliance by FERC Staff regarding the largest Dam destruction Project in the known world are clearly demonstrated. In added insult of biased agenda, while FERC Staff ‘admits’ that KEEPING the Project would ELIMINATE the environmental and regional ‘certain and potential’ damages from destruction occurring in their pursuit of UNCERTAIN ‘future benefits’, FERC THEN states that it ‘doesn’t matter anyway’ since NO ‘Agency offered’ to ‘take over’ the Project. It is interesting that NO EVIDENCE was EVER presented OFFERING the Project for possession by ANYONE, INCLUDING the very COUNTIES most impacted and desperate to KEEP them. Even MORE confusing, the ONLY area in which FERC is theoretically qualified and empowered to ‘protect’ is the reliability and security of the regional and national power grid, which the loss of hydropower under current grid conditions inescapably IRREPARABLY HARMS the regional provision of BOTH, but nonetheless is one of the most dismissive ‘possible future replacement’ subjects FERC ‘addresses’. However, though FERC Staff are inescapably unqualified and underfunded for the EIS complexity, they are not idiots. With FERC Staff being fully AWARE that KHSA EIS required ‘restoration funding’ DOES NOT EXIST, and of the Academy of Science acknowledging there is NO ‘scientifically known’ effective ‘restoration’ means of altering natural Upper Basin conditions, FERC improperly chooses to instead rest their directed unaccountable ‘assumptions’ of Project ‘future benefit’ ENTIRELY upon the Project UNRELATED Staff ‘predicted’ future resultant INCREASE in regional-wide imposed regulatory oppression.
As a result, FERC Staff have CONSISTENTLY IGNORED repeated submissions of well over 500 studies, data, and historical references REFUTING destruction agenda premise. Just a FRACTION of which facts include:
- Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) core studies show the total yearly massive biomass contributed by UKL to the Klamath, INCLUDING microcystis aeruginosa, has remained UNCHANGED for HUNDREDS of years, before and after ‘development’.
- Studies show that incoming UKL water high nutrient loads are naturally occurring and have remained UNCHANGED since long before Basin ‘settlement’, EXCEPT for the post-development REDUCTION in UKL incoming springtime nitrogen. UKL naturally occurring regional phosphorous inputs delivered to the Klamath, the primary driver of algae, have remained UNCHANGED for hundreds of years, with the top 2” of UKL sedimentary phosphorous alone sufficient to drive algae cycles for over 20 years, in sediment subject to perturbation running over 90’ deep.
- Copco and Iron Gate are the ONLY deep water lakes on the Klamath, and currently provide the ONLY known means effectively sequestering, binding, precipitating, gasifying, and reducing UKL biomass and nutrients delivered downstream, with the 2 deep water lakes alone dramatically improving downstream water quality MORE than with the CREATION of an ADDITIONAL 25 MILES of ‘free flowing river’.
- The lakes further help by capturing, reducing, and delaying the worst seasonal UKL released biomass/nutrients during the highest temperatures, lowest flows, and most salmon CRITICAL time of year from transport downstream by up to 2 months, until the time of lower temperatures, higher flows, and thereby massively reduced impact.
- Recent biological studies now reveal that microcystis growing in high light/high surface temperature conditions (deep water lakes) produce little to NO toxin, whereas lower light/lower temperature conditions (instream) produce GREATER toxicity. It is ALSO recently now known that the lakes prevent well over 90% of that lower toxicity algae from delivery downstream, AFTER further decomposing, gasifying, precipitating, and BREAKING DOWN microcystin toxin in the ONLY NATURAL biological environment capable of doing so, the Project’s deep water lakes. That science coincides with the FACT that in a HUNDRED YEARS of dams in place, there has NOT been a SINGLE reported case of toxicity to humans or animals in the deep water lakes OR in the ‘dams affected’ downstream Klamath reach, as SUBSTANTIATED by the CDC empirical study SURVEY finding NO detrimental impacts whatsoever for those in immersed recreational contact with the microcystis in the lakes.
- In comparison, it is NOW KNOWN that INSTREAM live algae directly-ingested microcystin toxins present MANY TIMES more risk to the INGESTED food chain, including man, than by exposure to toxin suspended in the water column.
- The physiological ability of microcystis to outcompete other instream algae has been identified and now empirically PROVEN on the Klamath, with repeated outbreaks of microcystis and toxicity having been recorded 160-180 MILES DOWNSTREAM of the Project, FAR GREATER than concurrently occurring at Iron Gate, showing nutrient-dependent microcystis outbreaks UNRELATED to the dams.
- With destruction of the Project, dramatically INCREASED nutrients WILL be delivered DIRECTLY downstream, along with UKL seeding microcystis, during the most fisheries CRITICAL and algae conducive time of year, EXACERBATING downstream growth, toxicity, and threat to the ENTIRE food chain from direct cellular ingestion throughout the ENTIRE RIVER.
- The recent archeological midden excavation study of over 15,000 fish bones, in conjunction with the 1851 Gibb’s chronicle, PROVES the regional historical documentation and experienced testimony that anadromy has NOT been present in ANY identifiable numbers in the Upper Klamath Basin for AT LEAST 8,000 YEARS, REFUTING the Proponents’ agenda-directed subjective ‘Synthesis’ relied upon as the ‘basis’ for Project destruction modeled ‘volitional salmon travel’.
- Sentinel Fish, polychaete, and ceratomyxa shasta (CS) studies now PROVE that; polychaete numbers and disease conducive conditions are ALREADY PRESENT and FAR GREATER in the Upper Basin than exist downstream; sentinel fish exposed infection rates in the Upper Basin are ALREADY FAR GREATER than below the Project and routinely result in 100% MORTALITY even WITHOUT the most coho lethal genotype of ceratomyxa being present in the Upper Basin; ONE infected salmon releasing over 2 BILLION disease spores can infect resident Upper Basin polychaete populations and, in turn, ANY downstream fish. It is also now known that BOTH fish infection rates and CS spore counts have ALREADY OFTEN been found to be HIGHER 160-180 miles BELOW the Project than in the immediate Project reach. From that it is clear that the instream conditions conducive for disease outbreaks UNCONNECTED from the Project ALREADY EXIST, which outbreaks will likely GREATLY INCREASE with the HIGHER downstream nutrients AFTER Project destruction.
- While FERC obtusely DENIES the ‘truck and haul’ option to provide preemptory PROOF of ‘volitional’ historically-refuted Upper Basin anadromy success BEFORE imposing ‘certain and potential’ KNOWN environmental and regional damages, the EXPERIMENTS trying to establish Upper Basin ‘anadromy’ using ‘selected’ out of area hatchery salmon into the Sprague are ALREADY CURRENTLY TAKING PLACE. That ‘experiment’ is subject to a salmon introduction ‘Plan’ which already states a LIKELY REQUIREMENT for PERMENANT ‘Truck and Haul’ AROUND the Keno reach and Upper Klamath Lake to even make salmon access POSSIBLE. in the face of that already acknowledged PERMANENT ‘Trap and Haul’ potential and given the simple adjustment of a study ALREADY IN PROGRESS PRIOR to imposing irreversible regional devastation, FERC DENYING preemptory PROOF of sustainable salmon ‘benefit’ because it ‘does not fit Licensee objectives’ would be IRRESPONSIBLE and DERELICT to the ‘best public interest’, REGARDLESS of ‘agenda-directed’ policy pressure.
- With destruction of the Project and anticipated ‘removal’ of known naturally occurring barriers to ‘volitional travel’, any salmon forced into historically inaccessible and non-conducive upstream Upper Basin habitat WILL introduce and infect the fisheries with a recently identified CS genotype NON-EXISTENT in the Upper Basin, COMPOUNDING unimpeded disease infections throughout the ENTIRE WATERSHED.
- Recent empirical studies refuting original ‘modeled’ destruction Proponent-claimed ‘Project river temperature impacts to the ocean’ in fact PROVES the dams have NO significant impact upon the downstream river which quickly assumes an average of prevailing day/night temperatures, with ANY minimal duration and distance variances falling within the study’s ‘margin of error’, and ANY such ‘possible impacts’ being just as likely BENEFICIAL for immediate downstream fisheries, SUPPORTING locally EXPERIENCED ‘before and after Iron Gate’ resident testimony.
- Recent peer reviewed empirical studies (ie. Kintama, Mantua) IGNORED by FERC and California Water Resources PROVE that salmon returns to the North Pacific rivers are NOT less in dammed rivers; that Pacific salmon numbers are naturally ‘erratic’ and HAVE been for at least half a millennia; and are instead virtually entirely tied to as yet not fully understood prevailing ocean conditions.
- Salmon return statistics to the Project area reveal NO discernible decline from Copco, and a drastic INCREASE to Iron Gate area salmon returns due to improved downstream conditions and the ‘unnaturally’ PRODUCTIVE hatchery only made possible by the cold deep water from Iron Gate.
- Salmon redd studies by the Klamath Forest Service showed that OVER 75% of the lower Klamath coastal influenced salmon spawning habitat ‘IDEAL’ tributaries’ were UNUSED by salmon, a condition that could NOT occur as the result of claimed ‘impeded volitional travel’ over 160 miles upstream.
- Tagged salmon studies PROVED spawning hatchery salmon ALSO populate the Shasta, Scott, and Klamath mainstem.
- DNA studies PROVE that resident tributary populations are DNA identical to hatchery salmon.
- The rewilding ‘policy-directed’ killing of all excess returning hatchery salmon beginning in the 90’s saw concurrent reduced salmon returns to the Shasta and Scott.
- The previous Hatchery at Fall Creek, being ‘resurrected’ at great ratepayer/taxpayer expense, was previously abandoned in large part due to insufficient water and unreliable temperatures, even for being the ‘most conducive’ stream in the region. According to the KRRC ‘Plan’, in addition to Fall Creek, Bogus Creek is also being appropriated, with all the attendant consequences, just to try and meet the combined production necessary to theoretically achieve at best less than 25% of current Iron Gate salmon production. Bogus Creek at the Klamath confluence was previously known too warm and insufficient for hatchery production but is nonetheless suddenly ‘considered adequate’ by destruction proponents. Iron Gate and its ‘unnaturally cold’ deep lake-provided water has been cost effectively providing CONSISTENT hatchery production of well over 6 million salmon a year for over 60 years, many MAGNITUDES of orders MORE than ANY inconsistent ‘natural’ production EVER known in the area prior to the Project and Iron Gate.
- While the FERC EIS ‘Management Plan’ RECOGNIZES the NEED for SIGNIFICANT and quite possibly PERMANENT required hatchery production to sustain salmon populations long AFTER Project destruction, and given KRRC’s proposed ‘replacement’ hatchery fractional capacity and historically KNOWN inconsistent production ‘remodeled’ at great ratepayer/taxpayer expense, the destruction of Iron Gate will literally DESTROY the single greatest proven cost-effective tool for ensuring Klamath salmon sustainability as universally recognized and lauded by knowledgeable residents and Agencies’ press releases for many DECADES after construction.
- Current disease studies concluded that not only will Project destruction NOT end the need of seasonally unnatural ‘pulses’ the PROJECT has PROVIDED for years, but that the need will likely PERMENANTLY INCREASE AFTER destruction. With that water no longer provided by the Project deep water lakes, ALL future water MUST come from ‘unnaturally’ stored Upper Klamath Lake water OWNED BY and TAKEN FROM Upper Basin residents during the most CRITICAL times for crop production, causing massive ADDITIONAL HARM to the Upper Basin.
- Klamath destruction is being based on the SAME special interest agenda ‘modeled metrics’ used to produce the supremely INNACURATE ‘estimates’ on the Condit and Elwha destruction ‘Projects’. The ‘urgency’ of created ‘metrics’, ‘studies’, lawsuits, funding, and mass media rhetoric, expended for YEARS ‘justifying’ exponentially increased subjective Regulatory confiscatory expansion and imposed ‘rewilding’ destruction, once executed on the Elwha and Condit, seemed to have attracted LITTLE subsequent interest EXCEPT for the Agencies’/NGO Media releases continually parsing ‘massive success’ DESPITE the COMPLETE FAILURE of ‘predicted’ environmental benefits. With the number of published ‘follow-up’ studies able to be counted on ONE HAND for BOTH Projects up to a decade later, it now appears considered generally better to IGNORE those failures until ‘present memory’ fades. However, even those few ‘studies’ are ALREADY trying to re-create a NEW ‘version’ of ‘benefits’, ‘reduced expectations’, and fabricated blame. A DECADE LATER, lawsuits for injuries to both resident health and property STILL RAGE on the Condit while seeing NO substantive upstream anadromous benefit, and MASSIVE DOCUMENTED Elwha environmental and regional destruction damages, including EXTIRPATION of ENTIRE SPECIES and now predicted PERMANENTLY DEGRADED downstream conditions, remain UNSEEN in Agencies/NGO mass media releases despite the regions still reeling from their losses. In a study having to acknowledge their own ‘modeled’ FAILURES regarding the Elwha, authors then cite their funded ‘next step’ intent to ‘monitor’ pending KLAMATH devastation to conform their flawed models ‘closer’ to empirical results, along with a recommendation for ‘reduction of expectations’ being promoted to media regarding future imposed Project destructions. Without mentioning the many OTHER massive documented Elwha destruction damages beyond their own ‘modeled’ failures, such as the destruction of ecologically critical ocean kelp forests, mussel beds, and loss of critical infrastructure, their admission of reduced ‘expected benefits’ and likely ‘permanent environmental damage’ was of necessity still acknowledged due to the undeniable empirical data regarding the ‘study’ objectives. In their agenda compliance inconsistent with professed purpose, despite acknowledgement of flawed ‘modeling’ and ‘unpredicted damages’ from imposed destruction, study authors nonetheless expressed NO intent of informing those failures to FERC regarding the pending Klamath ‘Surrender decision’ ALSO based on ‘modeling’, but rather ONLY states their self-benefitting intent to ‘monitor’ that pending Klamath devastation!
It is clear from both the above and the MUCH MORE extensive findings and references previously submitted multiple times to FERC over the years, that destruction of the Project will not only FAIL to produce ‘future benefits’, ‘at best’ it will CERTAINLY return the Klamath to its previously experienced degraded conditions and will highly LIKELY FURTHER DEGRADE those previously KNOWN conditions for the FORESEEABLE FUTURE. In their ‘process’ of imposition, FERC Staff consistently marginalizes the massive impacts of those ‘unmitigated’ losses to people they don’t even know, to their regional environment, human health, safety, property values, power grid and economic security. Regardless of HOW MANY times in the EIS the personally unaffected FERC Staff repeatedly dismiss acknowledged ‘significant and unmitigated’ losses for the most affected regional supermajority residents in opposition to destruction as “less than significant” in THEIR ‘opinion’, those losses STILL occur. It speaks to that policy-directed bias when NO WHERE does it appear FERC Staff OR the Commission are holding themselves or ANY KHSA/KRRC ‘Signatory’ personally accountable for the accuracy of their ‘opinion’, instead placing that entire burden upon the unwillingly affected and unrepresented public themselves.
We, and all other ‘Project’ area residents we knew knowledgeable of the history and ‘naturally’ inconsistent conditions improved by Copco, were VESTED, WILLINGLY sacrificed, worked for, supported, contributed to, and accepted their property impact consequences for the addition of Iron Gate to further enhance the known fisheries, environmental, economic, security, and safety benefits it would bring to the Klamath region, as EVIDENCED by Pacific Power’s status as a ‘quasi’ PUBLIC entity. DESPITE that vested public interest, Pacific Power (Copco at the time), nonetheless, STILL retained accountability backed by the company’s corpus for the damages it might impose.
Now, in an intentionally scripted policy directed agenda, FERC and unaccountable Special Interests have crafted a ‘precedent setting’ procedural means of ‘permitting’ regional destruction paid for ENTIRELY by the unwillingly IMPACTED residents/ratepayers/taxpayers by; DISMISSING those most knowledgeable, vested, and harmed in supermajority opposition; ‘limiting’ the costs of agenda destruction ONLY to those funds previously confiscated from the SAME unwilling and harmed ratepayers/taxpayers in UNREPRESENTED opposition under COMPLETELY DIFFERENT contractual terms; allowing the ‘use’ of those ‘limited’ funds to ‘legally protect’ the benefiting ‘Signatories’ from ANY personal accountability to those from whom the funds were confiscated; turning a ‘blind eye’ to the subsequent VIOLATION of the originally ‘limited capped’ costs taken from those harmed forming FERC’s previous REQUIREMENT for ‘approval’; turning the ‘other’ blind eye to massively increased costs that make ‘Definite Plan’ claimed ‘mitigations’ IMPOSSIBLE to complete as ‘promised’; giving virtually total ‘discretion’ to the liability-protected KHSA/KRRC ‘Signatories’ as to HOW and to WHAT EXTENT they will ‘VALUE ENGINEER’ broken promises and Project abandonment; ‘approving’ placing all those damaged at the mercy of the same ‘Signatories’ FERC made unaccountable by giving KRRC total subjective control and ‘determination’ of ANY, IF any, mitigations that MAY be conditionally offered, on KRRC terms, using already insufficient ‘limited funds’; and KRRC’s stated intent to use public funds in publicly REDACTED amounts at their discretion to financially delay and destroy anyone daring to seek damages in court, thereby discouraging ANYONE harmed from seeking reparations.
To get to this point, FERC has intentionally and pointedly scripted the outcome. By ‘recommending’ separating License Transfer and License Surrender, FERC knowingly locked in the ‘procedural’ certainty of an EIS biased to the single KRRC ‘corporate’ objective of Project destruction at any cost to the public and regardless of environmental or regional consequence. FERC Commission’s deceptive response to regional protests against apparent EIS bias was to ‘indignantly’ profess their ‘absolute authority’ to consider ‘ALL alternatives‘ in the ‘best public interest’ and their ‘power’ to ‘deny’ Project destruction REGARDLESS of License Applicant objective. FERC then hypocritically immediately facilitated ‘Applicant’ objectives by predicating License Transfer ‘approval’ on ONLY TWO self-imposed ‘KHSA Agreement’ conditions EXCLUSIVELY ‘protecting’ the special interest ‘Signatories’ for which FERC, in the ‘best public interest’, had NO REGULATORY OBLIGATION to ‘accommodate’. The ‘conditions’ for ‘Transfer’ were that KHSA/KRRC/PacifiCorp special interest ‘Signatories’ MUST be held personally UNACCOUNTABLE for any damages they impose, and that the ‘capped’ funds confiscated from unrepresented ratepayers MUST be ‘adequate’ to carry out KHSA ‘agreed’ terms. Given the initial obvious massive shortfall of funds to complete ‘agreed-upon’ Project destruction, FERC quickly facilitated KRRC’s created ‘future’ ability to ‘value engineer’ eliminating Project completion obligations upon exhaustion of confiscated funds. However, even GIVEN the effectively altered ‘Agreement’ terms, the substantial risk of unfunded completion was STILL evident, prompting the FERC requirement for PacifiCorp to remain financially liable as co-licensee, while at the SAME TIME conveniently PROVIDING the ‘blueprint’ for FERC ‘preapproved’ circumvention of that ‘Order’ and KHSA prior ‘agreed’ obligations and terms. The Department of Interior still intent on Project destruction then facilitated the ‘States’ conspiring to ‘protect’ PacifiCorp and KRRC from liability for damages by ‘assuring’ unlegislated and legally unenforceable ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ taxpayer funds, creating YET ANOTHER ‘Agreement’ with different TERMS, different SIGNATORIES, and ‘termed’ an ‘amended agreement’ in order to likely illegally maintain control over the funds confiscated under an undeniably DIFFERENT contract. Despite NO legally enforceable certainty of compliance and questionably appropriated ratepayer funds, the FERC Commission readily ‘approved’ the FERC suggested substitution. That ‘approval’ effectively placed the States in a ‘conflict of interest’ promising to ‘protect’ the Governors and ‘Agreement Signatories’ from liability for damages IMPOSED on the public by USING taxpayer funds AGAINST the same injured citizens the States are obligated to protect. With FERC’s ‘approval’ of that convoluted, unenforceable, and questionably illegal ‘agreement’ granting ‘License Transfer’, against FERC’s OWN prior ‘assurances’, FERC immediately initiated, at ‘Applicant’ request, an expedited EIS with scoping requirements and ‘alternatives’ ONLY CONSISTENT with ‘Applicant objectives’, with KRRC’s KNOWN ‘objective’ being exclusively that of Project destruction. By not responding to EIS ‘Scoping’ comments, and by not acknowledging, including, or responding in the ‘final’ EIS to a majority of repeatedly submitted prior comments, once again AGAINST prior Commission ‘assurances’, FERC Staff parsed a regionally predicted exclusionary fabricated fallacy of ‘Surrender approval’ recommendation.
By failing to address even the most overt contradictions, FERC has arranged an unaccountable ‘Definite Plan’, whether through directed Policy intent or consequential ignorance, wherein countless will suffer major personal loss upon FERC ‘approval’ of ‘Surrender’. In addition to lake residents suffering massive losses that FERC Staff barely acknowledge and quickly dismiss as ‘minimal’, irrigators along the river losing their diversions from untenable sedimentation will not only suffer property use and value loss, they will likely lose lifetimes of developed crops, livestock, and landscapes from lack of irrigation replacement in time to avoid permanent uncompensated harm. In the REAL world, diversion replacements MUST be completed BEFORE Project destruction and SIMULTANEOUS with continued operation of existing diversions, as there will be NO POSSIBILITY of installing it AFTER destruction BEFORE massive springtime property losses occur. With the destruction ‘planned’ for 2023, and NO apparent FERC requirement beyond ‘trust’ in KRRC’s ALREADY repeatedly VIOLATED stated ‘good neighbor policy’, it is extremely UNLIKELY that timely diversion replacement will happen.
Personally unaffected FERC Staff ‘opining’ the POSSIBILITY of environmental ‘future benefit’ as ‘adequate’ compensation for personally harmed residents would be laughable were it not for the devastation of lives. FERC’s glossing over of harmed lakeside residents is a true travesty in the face of damages still being experienced over a decade later at Condit Dam site under far more ‘ideal’ conditions. Essentially throwing lake residents to the ‘mercy’ of KRRC’s funding-limited and unaccountable ‘discretion’ is a humanitarian disgrace when Project area residents OVER A HUNDRED YEARS AGO were at LEAST paid the fair market value of eminent domain, a Constitutional RIGHT apparently not even CONSIDERED in the current era of special interest ‘righteous’ selective oppression. With those extensive lake resident unmitigated losses already repeatedly submitted and side-stepped by FERC, it is pointless to reiterate here what FERC sardonically terms a ‘future benefit’ and ‘absolves’ itself by ‘entrusting’ any ‘resolution’ to the vague minimal ‘assurances’ of KRRC. However, in their EIS, FERC ALSO ignores and marginalizes as ‘insignificant’ the downstream disruption and unwilling loss from ‘raised foundations’, massive view and use obstructing ‘earth berms’, land rendered unusable and lives at risk from increased flood potential, ‘relocation’ of homes, reduced property values, decreased quality of life, and no longer available flood insurance for even those underestimated FEW KRRC recognizes as ‘impacted’ under a Water Resources hydrologist acknowledged regionally FLAWED modeled flood hydrology. As ‘required’ by FERC, KRRC has NO obligation to even condescend to RECOGNIZE the vast majority of impacts beyond the FERC carefully LIMITED ‘localized sediment arsenic mitigation’, intentionally designed to create a public media ‘image’ of ‘resident protection’, when in FACT the FERC ‘requirement’ not only drastically LIMITS KRRC accountability for arsenic, but by omission ELIMINATES accountability for virtually ALL OTHER potential downstream physical damages KRRC imposes to both the environment and regional residents beyond limited temporary ‘environmental monitoring’. As such, KRRC can unilaterally decide who, if ANY, will be ‘determined’ as ‘harmed’ based upon potential media impact, or the resident’s financial capability for a high profile legal challenge, leaving those most unable to defend themselves being those most marginalized, with NO ONE receiving ANY ‘compensation’ by FERC’s and KRRC’s own statements as to property ‘value’ and personal losses FERC STAFF ‘determines’ LESS THAN SIGNIFICANT.
I am sending this with little expectation besides providing public record inclusion referencing previously submitted: hundreds of pages of documented history; FERC excluded recent peer reviewed empirical studies absolutely REFUTING destruction ‘premise’; documented examples of ‘agenda’ biased corruption; extensive submitted verified errors in FERC often ‘decision-critical’ stated ‘facts’; and the official supermajorities’ most affected opinions submitted time and again, to NO substantive acknowledgement, inclusion, or correction. Commission’s claims notwithstanding, their complete LACK of acknowledgement or inclusion leaves the inescapable conclusion that those submissions are rarely even read. That ease of selective exclusion is now made particularly ‘convenient’ given the new AUTOMATED ‘paper trail’ compliant FERC digital eLibrary , as well as the frequent utilization of FERC Staff interpreted ‘cumulative comment responses’ allowing selective EIS exclusion of the vast majority of submitted questions, studies, statistics, and evidenced ‘Draft’ errors as though they never existed. Your ‘politically correct’ patronizing response to Representatives LaMalfa and Bentz letters clearly demonstrate the Commission is not only aware of that biased evasion for agenda purpose, but that agenda bias is either a policy initiated from the selectively appointed ‘Agenda supportive’ Commission itself, or has been ‘suggested’ through direct executive ‘recommendation’. Your gratuitous statements “that the Commission considers all comments…. to the fullest extent possible”, and your “commitment that we (the Commission) will continue to review the comments we received on our draft EIS before taking any action” reads as a veiled insulting legally protective diversion ‘documenting’ a functionally improbable public illusion. Regardless, even ASSUMING that your ‘comprehensive review’ were possible or true, based upon the Commission’s dismissive DENIALS of EVERY SINGLE ONE of the most impacted regionally ELECTED Congressional and County representatives’ submitted concerns and requests, the Commission’s pre-determined agenda bias appears even more clearly demonstrated. If that is not the case, I would be happy to discuss at your pleasure those issues and your logic regarding the science, history, and region of which you claim to be so knowledgeable and aware.
At the beginning of the special interest Klamath Project ‘rewilding’ agenda, what started decades ago simply as a personal concern to protect the Klamath we love by sharing the area’s history with presumed well-intentioned but regionally uninformed non-resident ‘activists’ claiming they were ‘unaware’, evolved into a massive sacrifice of my family’s wellbeing, thousands of hours of research and writing at 2 am, tens of thousands of dollars in unreimbursed costs, lost earnings, and countless ‘public meetings’, all leading to the present disconcerting realizations. Out of the relative handful of ‘proponents’ orchestrating and facilitating Agenda 21 directed Dr. Reed Noss’s ‘recommended’ Klamath rewilding and Project destruction, NOT A SINGLE ONE resides in the most dams-impacted region of the Project. Of that relative handful orchestrating their relatively unaffected regional agenda devastation, EVERY ONE is PAID, generally directly or indirectly from taxpayer funds, and PERSONALLY PROFITS by virtue of their ‘participation’. In EACH of the ensuing Executive-directed DOI funded and facilitated proponent secret exclusionary KBRA, KHSA, ’Amended’ KHSA ‘Agreements’, EVERY ONE of those ‘Signatories’ orchestrated their own PRIMARY REQUIREMENT holding themselves HARMLESS from the regional damages they cause, and unilaterally CONFISCATED the funds for destruction held UNDER THEIR CONTROL from the UNREPRESENTED and most impacted Ratepayers/Taxpayers. Under ‘Agreement’ terms, EVERY SIGNATORY is directly or indirectly paid to impose regional destruction, and although EXEMPT from contributing a SINGLE personal DOLLAR, EVERY ONE will nonetheless PERSONALLY benefit from destruction REGARDLESS of outcome. Conversely, EVERY ONE of the vested regional residents OPPOSED to Project destruction were SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED from ALL of the secret pre-conditioned ‘Agreement’ meetings. Regarding EVERY ‘signed Agreement’ supporting Agencies’ orchestrated after-the -fact’ ‘public meetings’, any ‘participation’ by the most regionally knowledgeable and impacted supermajorities in opposition to Project destruction occurred ENTIRELY at their own PERSONAL cost and time, with NO direct personal gain. In EVERY subsequent ‘Agreement biased’ Agency proceeding, submissions from those in unpaid opposition to regional environmental and economic devastation have been consistently dismissed or completely ignored altogether in favor of ‘Agreement’ agenda advancement. Now, in FERC’s sequence of constructed proceedings, the Commission’s continued selective agenda compliant ‘determinations’ have not only FURTHER ENHANCED ‘Signatories’ protections, they have relegated those most vested and impacted into opposition obscurity, while simultaneously subjecting them to virtually the entire burden of unwillingly imposed certain and potential regional destruction costs, damages, loss, and risks.
Given the above and previously submitted ignored volumes, and given previous FERC Commission and their directed Staff actions, it is inescapably clear that the policy-directed Commission intends to ‘approve’ Project destruction REGARDLESS of cost or consequence to the region or environment. That ‘approval’ based upon a massively flawed and purposely biased EIS creates a monumental inequity placing the vast majority of costs and loss upon the most directly vested and affected public whose interest FERC is legislatively obligated to ‘protect’.
Ironically, it is the Project area’s most regionally knowledgeable and affected in opposition to destruction, sacrificing their own time and finances, who appear the most concerned for the ACTUAL OUTCOME regarding preservation and enhancement of the Klamath environment they love. Due to continuity of life in the unique actual LOCATION of proposed asset destruction, residents have learned two primary maxims. One is that no matter how much we cherish Nature, Nature cares NOT whether man lives or dies. The other is that, in our highly variable local climate ‘transitional zone’, ONLY through the OPTIMIZATION of those variables can we enhance sustainability for the entire affected ecosystem, INCLUDING man. The corollary is that ONLY MAN can sustainably optimize those variables enhancing the entire affected ecosystem. RETURNING the region to ‘naturally inconsistent’ experienced historic conditions places ENTIRE SPECIES at constant risk, INCLUDING man. Recent peer reviewed empirical studies along with area statistics and historical documentation irrefutably PROVE the Klamath Project dams are NOT significantly detrimental to salmon returns, AND that Project deep-water lakes provide the ONLY existing SIGNIFICANT SUSTAINABLE IMPROVEMENT of Upper Basin naturally occurring conditions delivered downstream. It has become abundantly clear that the ideological agenda of ‘rewilding’ has virtually NOTHING to do with ‘enhancement’ of the Klamath fisheries and environment, but is instead the creation of a procedural precedent means of executing effective conscription and reallocation of resources and property at no risk or cost to those imposing ‘rewilding’, for anticipated use now and elsewhere in the future. This agenda is being forcibly imposed upon the vested regional residents DESPITE the most affected officially voting supermajorities being in unequivocal opposition to the destruction of those irreplaceable cost effective economic and environmental enhancements.
Between Project destruction proponents and those in opposition, regardless of their differences in motivation or recognized evidence, FERC is still faced with 2 ‘opinions’. I actually have great empathy for the FERC Staff and Commissioners, and do not envy their position or required decisions. However, it is also true that we are all human, with staff and commission understandably as interested in enhancing income, personal advancement, vacations, retirement, and family priorities as in the obligations of their jobs. Those jobs generally have both explicit and implied expected outcomes, and most are hired for the position based upon their predilection and/or willingness to comply with expected outcomes. Regulatory based jobs often require procedurally rationalizing an outcome to avoid potential personal and employer backlash. Once accomplished, the ‘expectation’ is to move on to the ‘next objective’ in both their lives and job. Those completed objectives often occur with little subsequent thought of losses imposed to the multitude of regional families left in their wake and harms to those whom they will never meet, beyond patting themselves on the back over frequent orchestrating Agencies/NGO media press releases declaring environmental ‘success’ no matter HOW GREAT the FAILURE, as ALREADY SEEN regarding the White Salmon Condit and Elwha dams.
If an expected decision requires conditions equitable for all those impacted AND provides accountable certainty of objective outcome, that decision becomes morally and Constitutionally justified. However, an expected decision ‘approving’ inequitable impacts and unaccountable outcome uncertainty, instead can only be described as a ‘decision’ of selective oppression.
Based on the now realized empirical impacts and regional realities, BUILDING UPON the BENEFITS provided by the Project is undeniably the BEST and LEAST DESTRUCTIVE alternative for RESPONSIBLE environmental and regional sustainability. Unfortunately, a Commission’s predetermined ‘decision’ for Surrender based upon the current ‘Plan’ implements the otherwise avoidable CERTAINTY of Special Interest imposed ‘inequitable’ burdens of cost and loss upon the already disadvantaged most impacted regional supermajorities in opposition, creating an entirely NEW SELECTIVE DISPARITY OF OPPRESION in the face of an often touted era of equity. To minimize disparity, if FERC is ‘determined’ to forcibly impose that predetermined decision, rational logic and ‘equity’ would REQUIRE several conditions to avoid the unnecessary destruction of irreplaceable ACKNOWLEDGED massive regional Project benefits and the resultant CERTAINTY of extensive ‘Significant and Unmitigated’ environmental and regional damages. BEFORE destruction, FERC MUST FIRST PROVE their ‘believed certain’ massive INCREASE in overall Klamath salmon returns originating from the upper basin, WITHOUT the necessity of unsustainable ‘unnatural’ manipulation of the environment, which could be easily demonstrated using the Upper Basin experiment ALREADY occurring. FERC MUST ALSO require guaranteed adequate funding of a FERC monitored non-adversarial THIRD PARTY unaffiliated with Licensees to administer fair market value mitigation of ALL unwillingly imposed damages to the impacted Project vested residents, communities, and environment. Anything less would become a FERC hypocritically affectated ‘public interest’ lie, despite the best of intentions, to create an expanding ‘precedent’ of unaccountable selective confiscation and oppression eventually unwillingly impacting the lives and property of EVERY U.S. citizen. I beg FERC to make the most responsible decision."
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