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Commissioners oppose dam removal; Counties join forces to write letter to new Interior Secretary

  by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 5/10/13

     Klamath County Commissioners are joining the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors in sending a letter to new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging her and the department to abandon the Klamath River agreements and the proposed dam removal.  

Commissioners discussed a draft letter crafted by the Siskiyou board during a work session Wednesday.

Though it doesn’t mention the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement or   the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement by name, the draft letter does talk about “agreements to remove four of PacifiCorp’s dams and implement a number of other resource management actions.”       

“Today, little has come from the agreements,” the draft letter says, “except for frustration and disappointment on the part of their supporters. With no hope for the required Congressional authorization, with the vast uncertainty of future funding from a California water bond, and with legal threats against withdrawing parties foreshadowing the morass of litigation that will entangle any effort to push forward on this misguided path, now is the time to   reevaluate the Interior Department’s approach to the Klamath River.”

   The letter also admonishes the scientific review process done by the Department of the Interior, charging former secretary Ken Salazar had a “predetermination” to remove the dams.

   “With the process coming to the point where it is under such a cloud, it is hard to see what a new Secretary could possibly do to sanitize any forthcoming decision,” the draft   letter reads.

   Commissioners wanted to add a paragraph about the importance of transparency in government scientific studies, and produce their own copy of the letter on Klamath County letterhead before sending it with Siskiyou County’s draft.

   Final approval of a letter will likely be done at a future public meeting, which are every Tuesday.

    stipler@heraldandnews.com  ; @TiplerHN



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