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Water agreement hinges on dam removal issue

Herald and News letter to editor by Howard Paine, Chiloquin 1/16/15

     The Herald and News “Water Line” report in Sunday’s paper failed to address the primary issue — dam removal. Obviously, the writers failed to read: “Dam Removal, The Swindle of the Century” at  http://pienpolitics.com/?p=1989  .

   Going back to 2010, when the Klamath Basin Reclamation Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement were first publicly released, dam removal became the main issue in Siskiyou and Klamath counties.

   Siskiyou County put a Measure on the ballot in November 2010 which said: “Should the Klamath River Dams (Iron Gate, Copco 1 and Copco 2) and associated hydroelectric facilities be removed?” The result: 79.04 percent voted no. If a similar vote had occurred in Klamath County, the result would be the same.  

   It is an outright fraud to require ratepayers and taxpayers to spend $1 billion to remove four privately owned perfectly good dams that supply clean cheap power to 167,000 people.

   History has shown that much of the growth and prosperity in the Northwest is due to low-cost hydroelectric power. Washington has the lowest average residential power rates in the country at 8.53 cents per kilowatt hour. Oregon is close behind at 9.8 cents. Remove the dams, and our power rates skyrocket.

   Northwest hydropower was instrumental in the U.S. winning World War II. Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams went online just in time to supply vast amounts of electricity to make aluminum.

   This allowed Boeing to build 12,700 B-17 Flying Fortress Bombers in Seattle.   Boeing had a peak production of 16 planes per day. In Portland, electrical power helped put 750 big ships on the high seas. The Hanford Nuclear Facility used power from those dams to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki that brought the war to an end. It’s abundantly clear, KBRA/KHSA will never be approved until dam removal is removed from the agreement.

   Howard Paine


   Editor’s note: A story on Page 3 of the six-page section included an interview with Bob Gravely a PacificCorp spokesman who outlined the costs of dam removal, who has to pay and the fact that the ratepayers’ share would be capped at $200 million of the full cost of more than $400 million. If the dams remain, fish ladders and other upgrades would be required.



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