Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Mark Bransom's FICTION, Rex Cozzalio's FACTS regarding Klamath
Hydroelectric Dam Destruction "Benefits"
by Rex Cozzalio, Hornbrook, California Rancher 3/13/23
Herald and News won't publish Rex's letters that
refute "benefits" of Klamath Dam removal
In deference to my own limitations, the level of outright lies and/or profound ignorance expressed by Mark Bransom as CEO of the San Francisco based unaccountable KRRC and the H&N reporter who couldn’t even get his name right is stunning! This is the SAME Mark Bransom that told me years ago at his first Siskiyou County ‘public appearance’ that there was NO amount of science or public opposition that would change their pursuit of Project destruction as the sole corporate directive for which he was hired, not 20 minutes AFTER telling a large Siskiyou audience opposing Project destruction that ‘KRRC would NEVER do it if it was evidenced detrimental to the region’.
Despite his claimed ‘benefits’ having now been empirically DISPROVEN, that SAME scripted rhetoric they spouted then is exactly the SAME rhetoric still spouted here. Receiving nearly a quarter of a million per year of your money, it appears easy for him to do since he suffers NO accountability or consequence. He and the KRRC are personally protected with insurance and legal defense funds YOU paid for, REGARDLESS of the irreversible regional loss and environmental damages they are FORCING upon the most affected supermajorities voting AGAINST and unwillingly PAYING for their profits and the COSTS of that destruction!
Using NOTHING more than ‘mays’, ‘could’, or ‘potential’, many of Mr. Bransom’s statements exceed ludicrous. Citing his “potential to benefit not only aquatic species but also improve prosperity of agriculture and recreation in the Klamath Basin”, the question is HOW when ALL of his so-called ‘supporting facts’ are false?
“Spawn of endemic species such as the C’waam and Koptu, as well as that of salmon, steelhead and lamprey, have dwindled to frighteningly low numbers in recent years due to Ceratonova Shasta (CS) — a parasitic infection with a 90-plus percent mortality rate for the fish which inhabit the Klamath River.” Not a SINGLE CLAIM in that ‘statement’ is true. It is now PROVEN that suckers have NOT declined from low Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) water levels, when DECADES of higher than ANY ‘pre-Project’ historically known lake levels have INSTEAD seen a 90% DROP in sucker numbers, as ignored locals said they would see for many obvious reasons. Archeological studies of over 15,000 fish bones PROVE anadromous salmon were NEVER known in numbers in the Upper Basin for at LEAST the last 8,000 YEARS! Destroying the dams and natural impediments to force salmon beyond their historic range INTO the Upper Basin’s far WORSE salmon disease-conducive conditions will actually BRING the 3rd genotype of ceratonova shasta disease there where it DOESN’T CURRENTLY EXIST. Core studies PROVE that microcystis and total biomass produced and sent downstream from Upper Klamath Lake has NEVER CHANGED since long before emigrant settlement. Other studies have shown the ONLY significant ‘purifier’ of UKL’s National Research Council determined ‘un-ameliorable’ naturally high nutrient water quality are the downstream deep water lakes targeted for destruction, which on the whole deliver downstream water far CLEANER than that leaving UKL. NOTHING has indicated Mr. Bransom’s claimed typical “90-plus percent mortality rate” of downstream ‘Klamath fish’ from the ceratonova shasta which has ALWAYS been indigenous to the Klamath and which, like the ‘toxic’ algae rhetoric, has now been PROVEN frequently worse 160 miles downstream than at the ‘focal point’ of intended destruction. In fact, the ONLY routine 90-100% death rate found to occur through the Studies exposing fish to various Klamath locations was in the UPPER BASIN where they intend to FORCE infected salmon, INCREASING ceratonova exposure to ALL fish and COMPOUNDING disease down the ENTIRE Klamath.
Mr. Bransom said “The removal of Klamath River dams will also improve sediment distribution and waterflow. This would greatly improve Upper Klamath Lake water quality, allowing recreational use of water which is frequently too toxic to enter due to dangerous algal blooms.”
“Greatly improving Upper Klamath Lake water quality”? That would be a TRICK considering the fact that the UKL’s roughly 6-8’ average depth and naturally high phosphorous loads lay UPSTREAM of the resources being destroyed. By WHAT twisted rationale does Mr. Bransom declare DOWNSTREAM destruction will IMPROVE ‘recreational’ use in UPSTREAM Upper Klamath Lake? Upon destruction of the ONLY downstream deep water lakes which IMPROVE UKL water quality, studies by their OWN lead biologists now predict that UKL winter stored water currently stolen from irrigator owners to perform UNNATURAL and largely ineffective summer ‘CS dilution flushes’ mandated by the court not only will NOT end ‘required’ flushes, they will very likely have to be INCREASED. Adding to the natural post destruction increased water nutrient loads delivered downstream, the 20+ million yards of sediment flushed downstream filling instream deep cold water refugias and inundating gravel spawning beds, AFTER likely EXTIRPATING multiple species, WILL form the EXACT pre-dams experienced macrophyte habitat most conducive to CS disease-carrying polychaete. Apparently you shouldn’t pay ANY attention to a CDC empirical study the downstream deep water lakes recreational users which found NO health detriment; or that in a HUNDRED YEARS of dams in place NOT A SINGLE regional report of human or animal ‘toxic algae’ related health issues was reported; or that current studies now indicate the deep water lakes greatly REDUCE potential downstream toxicity risks from UKL delivered algae; or that prior to Iron Gate Dam we EXPERIENCED the yearly repetitive massive flood damages resulting from successive accumulating and collapsing debris virtually ELIMINATED by the dams. And as to Mr. Bransom’s wonderful “sediment distribution and waterflow”… seriously? After Project destruction ‘waterflow’ will ONLY be able to be controlled at UKL, losing BOTH downstream additional regulators for environmental, recreation, power generation, multiple species fisheries preservation, flood damage reduction, and safety. As far as ‘sediment’, if YOU are caught contributing a TABLESPOON of sediment to the Klamath, you could be massively fined and/or jailed. However, apparently when it suits those writing and reaping the rules, 20 MILLION yards, or 10 yard dump trucks extending bumper to bumper half way around the world, is now suddenly a ‘good thing’ the Klamath can ‘easily handle’, though they DO have a ‘slight glitch’ since an empirical study on the Elwha’s comparatively MINISCULE destruction revealed its sediment’s EXTERPATION of MULTIPLE species, destroyed critical habitat, FAILED ‘anticipated’ salmon ‘recovery’, PERMANENT degradation of water quality, and the study PREDICTED SAME ‘expectation’ for the Klamath.
KRRC “Restoration” of the destroyed deep water lakes he says? Unfortunately, it’s marketing pabulum for the public. The limited funding, soil structure, and area microclimate virtually GUARANTEES FAILURE of ANYTHING EXCEPT blowing potentially toxic dust and hydrologically unstable clay sparsely bound by invasive noxious weeds. He already KNOWS this from their previous ‘trials’, but only having to make their self-limited 3 maximum ‘attempts’ using your money to get something to grow before they walk away, what does HE care? He also failed to mention the MILLIONS more being paid by you in order to ‘replace’ one of the most productive and reliable already paid-for hatcheries in California. Iron Gate Hatchery was hailed for decades as one of the greatest single assurances of Pacific salmon sustainability due to the deep lake provided ‘unnaturally cold’ water, producing MANY TIMES more salmon than ANY ‘natural’ unreliable production EVER known provided upstream prior to the Project. That reliable production DISSAPPEARS upon destruction. Their originally claimed ‘temporary’ replacement hatchery ‘for a few years until the salmon are established’ will at BEST provide around a quarter of far less reliable production than currently exists. However, now empirically KNOWING the need for a hatchery will likely NEVER go away, they covertly acknowledge in their revised ‘Plan’ that their far more costly and less reliable production may continue INDEFINITELY at taxpayer expense. In fact, despite their continuing ‘public’ inference of ‘millions of salmon to the Upper Basin’ to the contrary, their CURRENT Upper Basin ‘introduction’ of ‘selective’ hatchery salmon being planted as we speak are ALREADY anticipated to FAIL. As a result, their ‘Introduction Plan’ ALREADY provides for the possibility of PERMANENT ‘truck and haul’ AROUND Keno and UKL. That is ironic when the SAME special interests previously DENIED ‘truck and haul’ proposed by the public to PROVE their historically and empirically refuted concept BEFORE irreversible Project destruction because it did not ‘support’ their intent of ‘volitional travel’. Originally billed as a ‘restoration certainty’ to ‘naturally populate the Upper Basin’, it is now clear that is a LIE, with the intent to FORCE anadromy into the Upper Basin at whatever taxpayer cost and regulatory impositions they can rationalize EVEN if it would ‘naturally’ FAIL. The ‘tools’ to unaccountably impose that ‘Plan’ include ‘impediment removal’, genetic manipulation, habitat ‘restoration’, and ‘adaptively managed’ rewilding, or in other words, even greater confiscation and landowner loss.
What about lost ‘Power Generation’? Mr. Bransom says it ‘doesn’t matter’ as IT IS ONLY “2% of the power company’s production”. That is masterfully parsed to make it sound insignificant while ‘coincidentally’ not mentioning Buffet’s corporation serves THREE STATES, but NOT surprising smoke and mirrors when Mr. Bransom has a highly paid Media Executive using YOUR ‘public funds’ to sell public resource destruction to the same public paying for it. By that logic, 2% of the world population is also insignificant, in their estimation leaving nearly HALF of us in the U.S as expendable. I guess to them it’s ok, since THEY are not the ones at risk. In the current world of power shortages, our ALREADY PAID FOR; LEAST COST of production; on demand centralized grid security; and more reliable power generation from facilities that are in State acknowledged excellent condition serving over 70,000 households HARDLY seems ‘insignificant’. If it were, WHY are there still brownouts with ratepayers ALREADY bearing massive rate increases to PAY FOR far more costly fossil based distant production? If the lie that renewable ‘replacement’ energy has ‘already’ been produced “many, many times over” were true, then WHY did FERC say PacifiCorp ‘plans’ to replace lost power ‘sometime in the future’, at which time ratepayers WILL bear even GREATER costs to install BOTH the REPLACEMENT and additional SHORTFALL power generation… In other words, the Klamath Project production capacity infrastructure which ratepayers have ALREADY PAID FOR and is being targeted for unnecessary special-interest destruction, will have to be DUPLICATED at MASSIVE current ADDITIONAL RATEPAYER COST while CONCURRENTLY paying well over DOUBLE for both fossil based and eventual LESS reliable solar and wind production compared to the Project’s existing truly ‘green’ energy.
I LIVED the massively IMPROVED environmental conditions in and on the Klamath River we love as a result of Iron Gate, directly below where it now sits. My grandfather’s friends, born here long before the Project, had related the equally dramatic experienced environmental benefits resulting from Copco and the Project. The past DECADE of empirical science validates that regional experience and refutes special-interest prior created defective ‘modeled’ theories for destruction. The destruction ‘Agreement’ signatories response to that empirical science? Their ‘request’ and acceptance that State and Federal Agencies IGNORE ANYTHING AFTER their decades old ‘modeled’ theories in their EIS ‘determinations’ for destruction.
Like many others who also experienced the conditions and understand the consequences, we have personally sacrificed 10s of thousands in both hours of research and savings to the detriment of family and friends. Far more hours regarding the science, history, experience, and the evidenced special-interest manipulation and corruption could be recited here than most have time to read. Even though we live at the ‘focal point’ of ‘dams impacts’ and I am ‘in the water’ over 50 times a year for over 60 years, while Mr. Bransom is based in San Francisco, you may say it’s still ‘your opinion against his’. That would be true, if it amounted to unimposing ‘opinions’. Unfortunately, as it is currently orchestrated, the special interest ‘Agreement’ signatories for destruction accept NO accountability or consequence for the damages they are imposing upon the environment, region, and the most-affected supermajorities voting against Project destruction. In FACT, the ONLY 2 conditions FERC said were mandatory before ‘approval’ was to assure that the Special Interest Signatories had enough confiscated public funds to at least blow out the dams, and that they be held personally harmless from the damages they impose on others. Under this FERC ‘approved’ scenario, the ONLY ones who will profit REGARDLESS of destruction consequence are the signatories. IF their rhetoric for ‘regional benefit’ were true, and I would be happy to personally debate in public with Mr. Bransom at any time as to why they are not, and they really believed so entirely that they are right, they would be willing to accept personally mitigating ALL damages they say won’t occur. They are not, thereby negating EVERY ‘assurance’ they make.
One thing is EXTREMELY clear, this agenda has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the ‘environment’ OR the fish. Like the scientifically failed but profitable extremist ‘modeled’ precedent of spotted owl forest shutdowns resulting in the present massive infernos and virtually extinct owls, the ‘suckers’ and ‘coho’ are merely the constructed weapon to secure regulatory confiscation of privately owned resources without the Constitutional requirement for fair market compensation. Brilliantly, they have actually orchestrated that the very people being attacked are being forced to pay the attackers, enabling those profiting special interests to ‘administer’ regional rewilding in their efforts to financially break the very people they are attacking. As a consequence, to them any ‘environmental’ outcome becomes irrelevant. In fact, the WORSE the outcome, the GREATER the special interest increased regulatory security and profit. Destroying the symbiotic Project’s deep water lakes, power generation, optimized environmental enhancements, ‘unnaturally’ high hatchery production, and improved downstream water quality, will also literally destroy the last wall of defense from further ill-fated mandates against Upper Basin and Klamath watershed resident agricultural production that supports it all, and thereby our last vestige of regional sustainability. FERC has ALREADY acknowledged they believe the ONLY ‘potential benefits’ MIGHT be seen after DECADES of planned TMDL regulatory oppression. At that time of special interest rewritten ‘history’, sadly those replacing us left confused over their struggle to meet their own immediate needs will have no idea of what they lost or the lies that put them there.
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