Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Comments as an intervener to FERC regarding
their Draft Klamath EIS
by Hornbrook, California rancher Rex Cozzalio April 18, 2022.
FOLLOWED BY Corruption of KRRC and FERC regarding Klamath dam removal, letter to FERC by Rex Cozzalio 4/25/22
2022 Cozzalio letter to FERC:
How are we to adequately address the largely cut and paste voluminous but substantively superficial FERC Draft EIS within the 45 day allowed ‘comment period’ regarding the largest Dams related Project bureaucratic/special interest imposed Infrastructure and environmental destruction in the known world?
This draft is an excellent example of a predetermined unaccountable policy decision where the objective appears to be to fabricate a legally sufficient paper trail of a size intimidating to individual review, woven from KRRC provided exclusionary data, dismissive opinion, inconsistent logic, redacted and as yet ‘undetermined’ publically critical information deferred from completion or review until AFTER FERC preemptory ‘approved’ Surrender, and consistently ‘choosing’ the procedural path and exclusionary guidelines leading to that predetermined ‘conclusion’. Ironically, though FERC staff have continuously and vehemently denied following the ‘conclusionary’ path documented by those most impacted, FERC has nonetheless precisely followed that predicted prejudicial path perfectly, directly leading to a predefined ‘conclusion’.
The other quandary in responding to the Draft EIS is ‘WHY’, when to date those most harmed have seen NOTHING in FERC prior substantive response. Throughout the entire ’process’, FERC staff have completely ignored the vast majority of comments regarding empirical studies and regional experience refuting agenda premise, massive issues of unaddressed accountability for damages, or the contradictions within FERC’s own statements and rationales. For FERC to accumulate a thousand pages regarding the largest Dams destruction in the world having so much documented regionally affected opposition, to write 35 pages of insufficient and ineffective ‘recommendations’ not only renders the DEIS special interest biased farce, it is a slap in the face to those most harmed, and an insult to those most informed who believed in the claimed integrity of the ‘process’. How foolish.
It may be understandable that Staff prior claims of conscientious inclusion may fall victim to job security, overwork, promotion potential, and efforts assuring increased pay and vacation time relating to their own personal lives. That is particularly true when those same people executing policy agenda often live thousands of miles away from, and have absolutely NO consequence or even likely future awareness of the inescapable harms and long term losses bourn by all those directly impacted EXCEPT for the equally unaccountable special interest benefitting Signatories FERC preferentially facilitates.
FERC Staff recommendation for regional destruction by reciting selective Signatory canned interpretive ‘opinions’, without actually assessing intrinsic data from non-Signatory submitted sources or directly requiring full mitigation of all public/private losses apart from Licensee ‘discretion’ negates the very purpose and obligations of FERC on behalf of the directly affected public. Anything less will rain unaccountable loss, suffering, and attrition upon the most impacted regional supermajorities in opposition little different from the devastation imposed upon Ukraine residents by privileged Russian benefitting bureaucrats claiming they are ‘helping’ the people. In reality, just as in Ukraine, the ignored suffering, lives, property, environment, infrastructure, sustainability, and futures lost to Project destruction will be buried and hidden in unmarked graves by the mass media of agenda benefitting Agencies and special interest Signatories.
When FERC ‘accepted’ Project determination regarding a Project objective extending far beyond its intent, ability, or expertise in order to allow special signatories to bypass an obvious rejection by Congress, FERC Staff claimed an objective, inclusive, unbiased and comprehensive process. FERC then stated they would ‘accept’ a License Transfer to the KHSA exclusionary special interest ‘Agreement’ Signatories’ ‘non-profit’, KRRC, having the sole liability shielded defined purpose of Project destruction using confiscated ratepayer/taxpayer funds. Arguments that a comprehensive EIS considering ALL holistic impacts, contributions, and alternatives to destruction should be done BEFORE License Transfer to an entity having NO other objective than destruction, since any subsequent EIS would likely NOT consider IF the Project should be destroyed, only HOW. FERC’s indignant response was that they would NOT limit the EIS, having the POWER to DENY destruction DESPITE KRRC’s sole objective. FERC then created only TWO absolute ‘requirements’ to grant License Transfer, that the KRRC had sufficient confiscated funds to carry out destruction, and that the KHSA/KRRC Signatories be held unaccountable for imposed damages. When multiple contrived, modified, and redacted ‘Definite Plans’ could still not conceal severely inadequate funding, FERC endorsed a ‘value engineered’ undefined escape for the ‘Plan’ to be approved, AFTERWARDS allowing KRRC to subjectively CUT that ‘approved’ plan however necessary to stay within the funding available, effectively rendering FERC ‘Plan approval’ a rubber stamp to undefined inadequacy. To cover potential KHSA/KRRC liability with available confiscated funds, even though KRRC subjectively excluded the vast majority of those harmed from acknowledged mitigation, the amount of ‘Local Mitigation Funding’, REDACTED from public view and comment, was obviously STILL too little, since KRRC hired a prestigious legal firm at undisclosed cost using that confiscated money which advised an alternative Facilities Defense Fund, using an ALSO REDACTED amount previously dedicated to ‘mitigation’ of damages. KRRC, rather than actually having to mitigate even the few damages KRRC was willing to acknowledge beyond what was publicly expedient, KRRC would INSTEAD use the funds confiscated from those damaged to FIGHT AGAINST them in court, with the premise that all KRRC would need to do is financially ‘break’ 3 or 4 before no one else would dare to sue for damages. Apparently happy with that solution, ready to grant License Transfer FERC then made the ONLY responsible and prudent decision to date; that PacifiCorp remain as co-licensee, but at the same time supplied PacifiCorp/KRRC with an alternate path forward eliminating liability. Obviously aware of the disastrous liability potential, despite Signatories’ public claims of ‘no significant damages’, PacifiCorp predictably refused. Rather than thereby rejecting the Transfer application as FERC would have typically done with any other Applicants, FERC Staff instead ‘approved’ an ‘acceptable plan’ whereby the States convoluted a Governors’ directed impromptu and unenforceable ‘MOA’, stating their ‘intent’ to provide non-existent funds to ‘assure Agreement’ fulfilment. In other words, that the States MIGHT seek UNCERTAIN future legislatively approved funds, if they choose, but they WOULD provide protection to Signatories from liability by also ‘breaking’ any impacted residents attempting to sue for damages by directing appropriated taxpayer dollars AGAINST the taxpayers harmed of whom the States are constitutionally obligated to represent. No conflict there… Apparently wonderful for FERC, with unaccountability now assured for the Signatories for damages to both the environment and public, and utilizing unwillingly appropriated taxpayer/ratepayer funds for Project destruction having provisions for ‘after the fact’ reduction of ‘approved’ obligations, FERC moved on to the EIS. Never mind that FERC prior policy was to have EPA perform the NEPA on ANY MAJOR Project. Apparently the largest known Dams’ removal Project in the world is not ‘major’, as FERC ‘determined’ to do the NEPA itself under its guise of immunity, with EPA cooperatively refusing the very purpose for which the Agency was created citing a ‘lack of personnel’, ‘lack of funding’, and ‘covid’ restrictions, instead ‘deferring’ to FERC having even LESS resources, LESS staffing, LESS assigned funding, and LESS EXPERTISE than the EPA, ‘instead’ offering to ‘guide’ FERC to ‘assure’ legally defensible paper trail statutory conformity. No collusion there…
NOW, having previously ASSURRED an all-inclusive NEPA, FERC did EXACTLY what it promised it would NOT do, the limiting of its OWN scoping and directing Agencies’ REQUIREMENTS to ONLY ‘consider’ the OBJECTIVES of the KHSA/KRRC ‘Applicants’ (Project destruction), utilizing ONLY the data supplied by KRRC to FERC and provided by FERC to the ‘cooperating’ Agencies. That biased single objective KRRC constructed, selective, and ‘interpreted’ reference list ever so kindly provided for ‘FERCs convenience’ to ‘save FERC time’, intentionally precludes virtually ALL actual area specific and ocean based empirical data occurring in the 10 years SINCE the purposefully ‘modeled’ KHSA EIS, which with the intrinsically altered ‘Agreement’ loss of KBRA ‘mitigations and restoration’ became functionally inapplicable, as well as the Signatory Governor’s directed Water Resources ‘performed’ EIS which through ‘funding restriction’ application ALSO became intentionally based entirely upon the ‘provided’ KHSA EIS . Even though the regulatory ‘justification’ for imposed devastation is based upon ‘anadromous salmon’, by virtue of FERC’s intentional ‘narrowing’ of scoping to the Project footprint and the handful of outlying ‘listed’ species, they have artificially precluded considering NEPA mandatory inclusive comparative impacts and benefits within the ENTIRE affected ecosystem and human environment, thereby rendering FERC’s superficial cost-benefit analysis erroneous. This is particularly highlighted with the FERC contradictory statements, at one point claiming necessity for destruction to preserve ‘endangered’ upper river coho evolutionary significant units, even though the genetics are from the previously planted Cascadia region , and then later marginalizing the potential extirpation of that and other ‘threatened’ species due to Project destruction as ‘no problem’, since the coho are too few to survive anyway and the others will simply ‘repopulate’ from OTHER ‘abundant’ species from the ocean. At what point does agenda convoluted hypocrisy become embarrassing, or are so many people charged with writing their individually rationalized agenda-compliant perfunctory parts that no one bothers to care or notice the agenda objective inconsistency?
So where we stand is a draft FERC EIS largely regurgitated from supplied KRRC single objective biased rhetoric with NO assessment or even acknowledgement of repeatedly submitted agenda-refuting evidence; intentionally limited scope precluding inclusive realistic cost-effective analysis; restricting ‘considered’ options only to those ‘facilitating’ special interest objectives; disallows comparison to ANY alternative except ‘as is’; inexplicably eliminates ANY potential transfer to alternate licensees by claiming that the government Signatories ‘aren’t interested’ and thereby PRESUMES there are no other potential owners for a Project NEVER placed on the market; without any actual in depth investigation or inquiry ‘opines’ Staff ‘dismissal’ of proposed alternatives through such rationalizations as ‘estimating’ alternative cost increases compared to outdated valuations for ever-diminishing Project destruction performance and mitigations; ‘accepts’ deferral of KRRC undefined, incomplete, and publicly redacted limitations to performance or accountability until AFTER ‘approval’ of License Surrender; and relinquishes virtually ALL decision of ‘mitigation’ for imposed public/private damages to the ‘discretion’ of the biased, funds-limited, admittedly ‘defense’ oriented, and personally unaccountable KHSA/KRRC ‘Applicant’ Signatories. Can’t see any problems here…
The well demonstrated FERC biased policy predisposition promoting an unaccountable special interest KHSA/KRRC single purpose objective has become undeniable and obvious, with EVERY FERC procedural Order actively facilitating the agenda objective leaving NO expected ‘conclusion’ besides regulatory defensible ‘acceptance’ REGARDLESS of ultimate consequence or losses to the environment or regional residents. If FERC Staff were truly intent on a thorough and objective assessment of single objective agenda claims, FERC Staff would look into the actual predicating conditions and data of special interest ‘interpreted’ conclusions, would expand the range of references and opinions beyond those supplied by the ‘Applicants’, and would actually INVESTIGATE the referenced studies, data, experience, historical documentation, alternatives, and impacts submitted by those most directly knowledgeable and impacted refuting agenda rhetoric rather than selectively and superficially dismissing or entirely ignoring it as has occurred from FERC Staff to date.
The most impacted super majorities voting AGAINST Project destruction have made their concerns ‘abundantly’ clear, even IF FERC has to date NEVER acknowledged nor responded to that fact. EVERY lake, river, and regional resident WILL suffer loss due to destruction of the Project that regional residents helped to create, worked for, sacrificed, and willingly accepted the consequences of, in pursuit of realized environmental and regional improvement. EVERY lake resident WILL lose property value, fire safety, REDUCED diverse environmental habitat, recreational opportunity, and quality of life, and MANY will suffer loss of infrastructure, health, and their very futures. EVERY river property from Iron Gate to below Seiad WILL suffer dramatically increased flood related property loss, reduced land use and options, destroyed diversions, degraded environment, and increased risk to health and safety, and MANY WILL suffer inescapable complete loss, use, enjoyment, options, value, and/or severe partially compensated unwilling forced alteration of their very homes. EVERY regional resident, most economically disadvantaged, WILL suffer INCREASED power costs, LESS reliable power, economically REDUCED access to equivalent lake recreational opportunities, ELIMINATION of the ONLY environmentally enhancing deep water lakes on the Klamath, ELIMINATION of one of the highest rated class 4 and 5 whitewater rafting reach in the western United States, REDUCED regional economic security, ELIMINATED lacustrine habitat, REDUCED diversity, and REDUCED County resources. If policy predetermined FERC Staff ‘recommendations’ are remotely concerned about FERC’s obligation to protect the Public interest, then at the very least FERC should REQUIRE that ALL those inescapable damages from FERC decision endorsing Special Interest imposed devastation are FULLY MITIGATED and COMPENSATED by an UNBIASED 3rd party facilitator WITHOUT necessity for economically disadvantaged prohibitive lawsuit, with ‘Licensees’ FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for funding mitigation for that unilaterally imposed devastation.
Issues previously submitted multiple times with supporting documentation in prior ignored FERC Klamath Project decommissioning proceedings, including the current draft EIS, which submissions are requested to be included in full by reference here, include but are ‘not limited to’:
- That the Upper Klamath Basin has NOT significantly changed in its naturally prevalent nutrient and biomass contributions to the Klamath for centuries, both BEFORE and after so-called ‘anthropogenic impacts’, as definitively PROVEN by Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) core studies. The ONLY noted change is the REDUCTION of springtime available nitrogen as a RESULT of ‘anthropogenic impacts’, causing the early summer dominant algal change from the previous sewage prevalent nutrient-dependent pediastrum to the current nitrogen fixing species aphanizomenon flos aquae, which once bloom senescence releases its fixed nitrogen into the water column, allows the HISTORICALLY CONSISTENT late summer microcystis aeruginosa bloom to occur, with virtually IDENTICAL total biomass production.
- That anadromy has NEVER been identified in documented and experiential history above Keno in ANY significant numbers, as PROVEN by the archeological study DATA going back 8,000 YEARS, as well as by pre-Project biologists’ surveys, Agencies’ assessment, resident testimonials, area fish return statistics, and earliest occurring explorer journals NOT included in Mr. Hamilton’s agenda biased ‘synthesis’, though both he and FERC have been presented with those unaddressed and/or completely ignored documents MULTIPLE TIMES.
- That the Iron Gate hatchery was hailed for decades by Agencies and organizations alike as the single greatest addition to Klamath and Pacific anadromous security made possible in the historically inconsistent extreme reach of salmon production as a result of the UNNATURALLY created deep water lake colder water in an amount sufficient to CONSISTENTLY produce MILLIONS of salmon, MANY TIMES MORE than EVER naturally known originating above Iron Gate, even WITH the inadequate and less consistent prior production from Fall Creek Hatchery upstream. The study regarding potential Project reach AFTER destruction at best estimates inconsistent maximum anadromous production less than 25% of the current production from Iron Gate Hatchery. As history and FERC Staff acknowledged that anadromy is UNLIKELY above the Project reach, the impacts of that projected REDUCTION in salmon returns is PROFOUND in the rationale regarding destruction and apparently UNCONSIDERED in the FERC EIS decision.
- That water quality studies empirically PROVE the ONLY deep water lakes in the Klamath system REDUCE historically CONSISTENT overall Upper Basin nutrient and biomass loads delivered downstream FAR MORE than ANY equivalent river miles are capable of, which when considered in conjunction with already failed nutrient reduction alternative methods such as the Klamath wastewater treatment experiment, leave the Project deep water lakes as the ONLY currently available cost effective method of significant downstream water quality improvement.
- That rather than the dams ‘degrading’ downstream habitat, they drastically IMPROVE it due to the already ACKNOWLEDGED well documented existing geomorphology FERC has also ignored. Physical studies and pre Iron Gate witness PROVE the dams do NOT block significant anadromous salmon conducive gravels from mobilization downstream as those ‘conducive gravels’ do NOT adequately EXIST in the Klamath Canyon, with IMPORTED gravels already being currently artificially ADDED to the Klamath Canyon reach at ratepayer expense for YEARS to NO known identifiable benefit. Being largely clay basalt based sediments, however, the RELEASE of sediments the dams currently retain will AT MINIMUM bury and CEMENT the existing downstream gravel redds that DO exist as resident WITNESSED PRIOR to Iron Gate construction. The release of massive sediments downstream over many years of high desert Project exposed clay erosion after a failed short term ‘seeding’ program will compound damages downstream, as ALREADY SEEN with the sediment underestimated coastal and water quality devastation on the Elwha and continuing lawsuits on the Condit, the evidence of which has ALSO been submitted to FERC multiple times without acknowledgement.
- That FERC’s vacillating claims, depending upon their biased objectives at the moment, of Project special interest previously ‘modeled’ detrimental temperature ‘impacts’ to downstream Klamath to ‘justify’ recommendation of destruction have now been empirically REFUTED, VALIDATING area experienced pre-Iron Gate described conditions. Special Interests and CA Water Resources’ statements over a decade ago citing paid for ‘modeled massive temperature impacts to the ocean’ to rationalize imposing regulatory ‘listing’ impairments, completely dismissing resident testimony at the time, have since been PROVEN baseless, with ACTUAL ‘impacts’ being negligible and within the margin of error of the empirical study, though the garnered additional regulatory authority remains unabated, necessitating FERC’s inconsistency in biased application of a failed premise. Those studies not only assert MINIMAL identifiable short term localized instream temperature variations, there was NO supported determination whether any possible variations were detrimental or BENEFICIAL for the fisheries, the BENEFICIAL experience of which local residents have stated from the very beginning, experience which is STILL being ignored.
- That rather than the Project ‘causing’ potential toxicity addition to the downstream Klamath, recent studies regarding microcystis aeruginosa (MA) biology, previously related to FERC multiple times, clearly relates to the experienced reality that the Project REDUCES instream toxicity potential. That biology suggests MA produces LESS toxicity in high light/higher temperature surface temperatures than in lower light/lower surface temperature instream conditions; that MA has the ability to OUTCOMPETE other instream algae due to its ability to adapt to those altered conditions and change its water column elevation as empirically EVIDENCED by documented major instream outbreaks of MA in the Klamath over 160 downstream from Iron Gate, higher than any occurring at the foot of Iron Gate; that the ONLY NATURAL environment in which microcystin toxin can biologically break down is within the DEEP WATER LAKES on the Klamath targeted for destruction; and the fact that exposure to any senescence released microcystin toxin suspended within the water column has demonstrated MINIMAL impact to the food chain and human contact, whereas INGESTION of LIVE MS with likely HIGHER instream INTERNAL toxin presents MUCH GREATER RISK to both the food chain and to humans. Evidencing that information and studies, Upper Klamath Lake’s historically consistent production of massive annual late summer MA blooms are ACKNOWLEDGED as producing MINIMAL microcystin toxin, as well as the Project deep water lakes NEVER reporting a SINGLE case of toxicity in over a hundred years of operation. In a rare case of FERC addressing that FACT, FERC nonetheless then defers to special interest and agenda promoting Agency statements that it ‘could be’ harmful to ‘justify’ Project destruction. An illogical and ludicrous statement, it ASSUMES that the historic production of UKL MS passing downstream will somehow ‘go away’ with Project destruction. IT WILL NOT. As a result, due to the shallow nature of UKL, without the intervening deep water lakes retaining nutrients and breaking down the biomass and incoming toxicity, ANY suspended microcystin toxin and natural endemic nutrient loads, along with massive LIVE MS biomass, will be delivered DIRECTLY DOWNSTREAM to seed and aid the growth of competitive MS throughout the ENTIRE RIVER, allowing for INCREASED opportunistic outbreaks of far higher toxicity and food chain/human potential harm.
- That by virtue of the above and late summer retention, the ONLY deep water lakes on the Klamath in fact IMPROVE downstream fisheries, INCLUDING salmon anadromy at critical periods, rather than FERC’s empirically UNDEMONSTRATED ‘conclusion’ that destruction of the Project will somehow ‘improve’ downstream conditions. Retention data reveals that the Project delays UKL late summer downstream deliveries of high nutrient and biomass output during the time of lowest flows and highest temperatures, generally aligning with initiation of salmon spawning migration. Studies referenced to FERC MULTIPLE TIMES CLEARLY show the IMPROVED water quality delivered downstream during that critical time compared to the water entering the Project. By retaining those incoming nutrients and biomass, settling and further reducing nutrients through contained growth, senescence, gasification, settling, and deep water breakdown of potential toxins, for up to two months, the release of any remaining nutrient loads is delayed until AFTER the most salmon critical time, during a period of INCREASING flows, DECREASING temperatures, and REDUCED potential of disease.
- That the very EXISTANCE of the Project in fact PROTECTS the fisheries from augmented disease is now empirically EVIDENCED, again repeatedly submitted to FERC to NO response. Sentinel fish studies, ceratomyxa shasta (CS) infection surveys, and polychaete assessments now PROVE there are HIGHER densities of CS symbiont manayunkia speciose polychaete that exist within the Keno and Williamson higher temperature/lower water volume far upstream than exists below the Project; that the studies ALREADY show virtually 100% MORTALITY of exposed susceptible fish to those reaches, far HIGHER than ANY occurring below the Project; that the Project currently PREVENTS introduction of the third genotype of CS most detrimental to coho, the ‘endangered’ species ‘justifying’ Project destruction; and that a single infected salmon can release over 2 BILLION myxospores to infect the entire downstream polychaete population. Destruction of the Project and destruction of prior natural physical impediments to forced upstream anadromy WILL transport ALL genotypes of CS to the EXISTING Upper Basin polychaete populations under greater potential infectious conditions to be released downstream, COMPOUNDING infection rates throughout the entire Klamath system. The prior unsupported but continuing generic rhetoric that ‘dams are all detrimental’ have now been empirically REFUTED through multiple studies such as the Mantua study, Kintama study, 2012 Columbia/Fraiser study, Lisi Canadian Lake Core studies, and many more recited to and IGNORED by FERC which definitively PROVE that dams have NOT been a significant factor in primarily ocean impacted returns, with many INCLUDING the Klamath SUPPORTING those returns.
- That the loss of low cost regionally produced renewable power for approximately 70,000 homes integral to local grid security, ‘dismissed’ by FERC as ‘minimal’ and ‘easily replaced’ is the unsurprisingly identical illogical rationalizations of a directed agenda consistent with those unaffected by outcome. The Project dams are State certified as in excellent condition, which without the artificially mandated and now basis-refuted 2006 ‘modeled’ FERC ‘requirements’ and FERC precluded alternatives, remain the most cost effective and environmentally sound alternative available. Destruction of the Project not only destroys perfectly functioning and sustainable generation stabilizing and increasing power reliability to a largely disadvantaged region, with the COST of destruction loss born by the very people most impacted, those SAME ratepayers will then have to pay for far HIGHER COSTING, SHORTER LIFE, and INCONSISTENT ‘renewable’ generation occurring at FAR GREATER DISTANCES, drastically INCREASING regional power costs and DECREASING regional power grid integrity. Due to the dedication of newer and costlier generation to REPLACE that unnecessarily destroyed, even MORE generation must be built at ADDITIONAL ratepayer expense to then help address the insufficient on-demand power supply and State mandated ‘renewable’ objectives, not only further INCREASING overall costs exponentially, but by association making the lost on-demand hydropower even MORE valuable. Those redundant costs are intentionally NOT included in FERC’s analysis. In an era of increasing power deficiencies and grid failures, for FERC to subsume its primary purpose to implement a largely unrelated and unaccountable special interest ‘agreement’ of which FERC has limited expertise speaks loudly. To do so, FERC has ALREADY violated its own prior policy to have the EPA perform the NEPA for any ‘significant’ Project, of which apparently the largest Project destruction in the world DOESN’T qualify in the eyes of either FERC OR the EPA. Instead, FERC states destruction is ‘economically’ reasonable, when FERC sets the currently outdated and unsupported agenda requirements that mandate the outcome, and does so by such methods as estimating ‘cost increases’ for alternatives, and then ‘comparing’ those select alternatives to special interest Project destruction costs kept in ‘check’ through FERC ‘approval’ of undefined and uncertain ‘value engineered’ unaccountable signatories’ future determined diminishment of ‘Definite Plan’ obligations.
- That the Project massive downstream flood damage prevention so easily dismissed by FERC, IGNORING pre-dam experienced testimony of area residents in FERC favor of an acknowledged flawed agenda compliant ‘modeled’ State created projection while off-handedly dismissing unbiased alternative engineered submission, again showing the lack of concern regarding affected resident safety and personal losses. By attenuating virtually annual spring flash floods occurring due to regional weather patterns and geomorphology, and by retaining avulsed debris which prior to Iron Gate realized massive successive damages from repetitively relocating logjams downstream, the area downstream of Iron Gate as far as Seiad have NEVER experienced equivalent pre-dam losses even in massive floods.
- That the FERC tendency to repeat that Project destruction will ‘return the Klamath to a natural regime’ to ‘justify’ unilaterally imposing both permanent and long term damages to the region and community contradicts FERC own earlier ‘assurances’ and ignored Project realities submitted to FERC in detail multiple times. Actual PHOTOGRAPHS, as well as documented area experience, SHOW the Klamath as occasionally COMPLETELY SUBSURFACE late summer in various years as far down as the Shasta River and as high as Link River. NOT very good for the fisheries and salmon runs. ONLY with the symbiotic environmental benefits of the Projects massively INCREASING UKL and other water storage, and the pumped late year CONTRIBUTIONS of formerly closed system Lost River water, provided largely at the cost and sacrifice of area residents in exchange for water security and percentage rights, was both BOR and Copco Projects able to achieve reliable late summer flows in the upstream Klamath. Now repetative ‘crisis’ has been artificially created over the past 20 years by requiring totally UNNATURAL successively HIGHER historically non-existent UKL levels, along with previously UNKNOWN downstream Klamath late summer flows and concurrent blatantly UNNATURAL springtime artificial ‘flushes’, ALL of which CONTINUE to occur to ZERO statistically identifiable ‘benefit’ for coho and NEGATIVE impacts to suckers as the ONLY species upon which those failed allocations are theoretically based. The studies and statistics supporting that reality have ALSO been supplied to FERC multiple times to NO response. Regional Sentinel fish, polychaete, and CS studies have seen the study administrators state that it is clear that destruction of the project will not only fail to eliminate those mandates, the INCREASEED documented natural disease conditions expected upon Project destruction and evidenced by already failed experiments will ‘likely REQUIRE INCREASED pulses’. Those historically UNNATURAL flows and UKL levels, ALREADY supplemented from ARTIFICIALLY STORED ‘environmental’ waters, can ONLY come from the complete CONFISCATION of remainder stored water OWNED by area irrigators, to the massive DETRIMENT of regional groundwater recharge and wildlife refuges. Those circumstances WILL create an UNNATURAL regime unsustainable and EVIDENCED to FAIL. However, FERC, protected from liability, appears to be unconcerned that the non-energy related Agenda they are endorsing is destined to fail despite special interest Signatories’ empty public proclamations of ‘assured’ regional benefits.
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(Note: The following Comment was filed with FERC on the 25th of April, in response to the seemingly intentional manipulation of the 'process' described in the Comment. April 18th was the FERC designated last day of Draft Klamath EIS Comment submissions for the 45 day total allowed by FERC on the largest known Project Dams destruction in the world. That exclusionary EIS is a massive FERC Staff restated KRRC/KHSA and CA Water Resources' EIS supplied opinion document which exceeded allowed size limitations requiring special approval to even publish. Despite that size and requests by Rep Doug LaMalfa and Siskiyou Supervisors to extend the Comment period to June, FERC never even acknowledged the request, leaving the 18th deadline in place.
On April 20th, with the Comment period theoretically over, KRRC just 'happened' to THEN submit its MOU agreement with Cal-Fire as to 'revisions' to the Fire Management Plan in the KRRC (to this day incomplete) 'Definite Plan' upon which the entire FERC Staff EIS recommendation for destruction 'approval' is based. Those MOU changes materially negated the so-called 'mitigations' that were supposed to 'offset' the massive loss of PROVEN fire protection benefits provided by the lakes, effectively leaving the area at increased risk to life and property. Certainly unexpected by KRRC, FERC Staff shortly afterwards announced they would extend the Comment period to the 25th due to prior 'computer problems'. By happenstance, that left me one day to respond to that MOU within the new Comment Period, not that it really matters, as FERC has not responded or even acknowledged the vast majority of studies and comments made to date REGARDLESS of timing, and I don't expect anything different now.)
Re: FERC Draft Klamath EIS for Klamath Project
On the 20th of April, 2 days AFTER recognized public input was to cease and BEFORE FERC release of comment period extension to the 25th due to computer issues, KRRC-CalFire submitted their MOU ‘revised Fire Plan’. This is exactly the type of collusion and manipulation we have encountered throughout the entire ordered special interest agenda biased ‘collaborative’ unaccountable selective loss and hardships being forcibly imposed upon the region as a direct result of Project destruction. It is also a preview of the intended outcome FERC Staff has intentionally set in place. By ‘approving’ KRRC/KHSA deferred subjective future ‘discretion’ in undefined ‘Plan’ implementations, FERC is knowingly allowing a funding-limited and liability protected single objective biased special interest transitory entity to achieve its objective of destruction at any cost or consequence to the region.
The prior 6/14/2021 ‘Supplemental information regarding Fire Management Measures’ was rife with countless physical and logistical ‘conclusions’ riddled with factual and conjectural errors, as submitted by a subject matter unqualified River Design (RD) ‘consultant’ group which has made millions over the decades by creating ‘modeled’ science and opinion advocating for Project destruction currently refuted by recent empirical studies, paid by and in support of the same eventual KHSA ‘Signatory’ special interest entities. Those errors, including such egregious statements as erroneously citing the Klamath River as a proven ‘effective fire barrier’ preventing previous spread, when the devastating and fatal Klamathon Fire was in FACT a RESULT of the fire EASILY jumping the river near Hornbrook, corrections to that document being commented to FERC previously to NO acknowledgement or response. In that ‘assessment’ trying to marginalize the regional impacts and maximize proposed ‘benefits’ of destruction, RD uses ludicrous ‘estimates’ of ‘Cal Fire response times’ NEVER realized to the majority region in fire related HISTORY. Their own ‘report’ lists the minimum travel time to the area from I-5 as 45 minutes to an hour, the SAME I-5 point EXACTLY where the Cal Fire response team IS LOCATED. Resting their ‘mitigation’ premise on a ‘network of cameras’ by claiming ‘5-10 minutes’ saved in response time, dependent upon a 30 minute response which COULD NOT normally occur, potentially resulting in a ‘34%’ increased suppression of fire, crosses the line of ridiculous when CDF actual adequately mobilized ‘response times’ can often be measured in hours, if not days, ALSO acknowledged within their own document. Both RD and FERC claim the ‘camera network’ would significantly offset, and would likely IMPROVE upon protections currently provided by the massive fire barrier and water accessibility of the lakes. Easy to say from those with no risk to loss of home or life, with FERC Staff claiming ‘adequate water access’ available ‘within minutes’ from Hyatt or Howard Prairie, BOTH of which are currently FUNCTIONALLY DRY, or alternately from shallow UKL located nearly DOUBLE the stated ’20 miles’ away from the primary areas at risk.
Nonetheless, even if we ‘presume’ RD’s detached unsupportable ‘assumption’ of ‘camera benefit’ and ‘response times’, like EVERY OTHER major deferred execution of unaccountable KRRC promises of ‘mitigation’ to occur AFTER FERC irreversible ‘Surrender approval’ , the ‘new MOU CalFire agreement’ conveniently submitted AFTER KRRC believed the ‘Comment period’ was closed, knowingly completely SUBVERTES the paid RD rationale of ‘no significant impact’, clearly demonstrating KRRC’s past and future intent and actions regarding future resident and environmental damages. That ‘network of cameras’ has now been MOU reduced to a SINGLE triangulation-limited camera placed at the EXISTING Paradise Craggy lookout, placing the MAJORITY of intended area WELL BEYOND the camera’s effective range of 12.5 miles, a significant portion of which area is also BLOCKED by the intermediate Black Mountain! As already seen repeatedly and here once again, KRRC has NO priority, incentive, or even concern regarding legitimate mitigation for KRRC caused regional private/public loss and suffering beyond their sole objective of ‘approved’ destruction, KRRC’s own liability protection, and their ability to control the narrative relative to Signatories’ special interest supporting public perception. Given FERC’s exacting wording, recommendations, and FERC’s Draft EIS regarding their preliminarily ‘approved’ scenario as to KRRC public ‘mitigations’, ‘Licensee’ entrusted discretionary oversight, along with structured unaccountability for damages regardless of outcome, FERC Staff is fully aware of and facilitative of KRRC/KHSA evasion, manipulation, and coercion regarding imposed regional damages. Ignoring the NEPA requirements for in-depth assessment of detrimental impacts to the human environment, FERC not only fails to mention the previously publicly redacted ‘allocated’ Local Impact Mitigation Fund and Facilities Defense Fund amounts intrinsic to reasonable assessment in the DEIS, the Facilities Defense Fund isn’t even mentioned.
It has become excruciatingly clear that KRRC/KHSA special interest and policy directing Signatories have NO interest in protecting the affected public against damages from forcibly imposed devastation, and in fact have gone to extreme lengths to EVADE it, not only fabricating a convoluted cloak of self-benefitting unaccountability and ‘post destruction approval’ deferred ‘Plan’ certainties, with FERC’s consent they have managed to effectively place ALL loss and burdens upon those most harmed and UNREPRESENTED within the so-called ‘Agreement’.
Given the evident intent of the ‘timely’ MOU submission obviously believed to be AFTER the actionable comment period, reciting a ‘revised agreement’ compromising affected resident homes and lives, it is clear that the ONLY CHANCE of resident protection and/or fully compensatory mitigations for damages are entirely DEPENDANT upon FERC and its obligation to ensure the ‘public interest’. At NO POINT can FERC ‘allow’ KRRC self-protective biased single-objective ‘discretionary’ decision-making ability regarding the indefinite ‘Definite Plan’, destruction ‘mitigations’, ‘value engineered’ reductions, or ‘determination’ of resident damages and any inadequate conditional ‘offered’ options. It is incumbent on FERC to revise the DEIS to assure definitive outcome, full compensatory mitigation for public/private damages, and non-discretionary certainties of outcome, for it is ‘abundantly and robustly’ CLEAR that it WILL NOT come from the ‘Licensees’.
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