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Utility, renewal corporation file to remove 4 hydro-dams

Public comment will be sought

Herald and News 9/23/16

< Copco 1 Dam on Klamath River is one of the four that Pacificorp is seeking to remove

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) will file Friday two applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to decommission four dams on the Klamath River.
According to a press release from the KRRC, one application, filed jointly with PacifiCorp, asks FERC to transfer PacifiCorp’s licenses to operate the four dams in California and Oregon to the KRRC.
The second application asks for FERC to approve dam decommissioning and removal.
Under the agreement, the KRRC would oversee dam removal which, if approved, would begin in 2020. PacifiCorp will continue to operate the dams until they are decommissioned, the release said.
FERC and other regulatory agencies will conduct public hearings on the applications. In these hearings, the public will be encouraged to participate and comment for consideration in the final decisions.
“Filing these applications is an initial milestone outlined in the 2016 Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). The KHSA, as amended in April 2016, provides the roadmap for the decommissioning and removal of four hydroelectric dams on the 373-mile Klamath River and calls for the creation of the KRRC to oversee the process,” the release said.
“A diverse set of stakeholders have agreed to a shared vision of the future of the Klamath basin: to date, the 2016 KHSA has been signed by the United States Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce, the states of California and Oregon, the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, PacifiCorp, nine conservation and fishing groups, and other interested parties. When complete, the KRRC’s efforts will result in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history.
There is also opposition to dam removal, both in Klamath and Siskiyou counties. Both county commissions are on record opposing the removal.
Mike Carrier, president of the KRRC board said, “The KRRC’s FERC filings are an important step towards realizing the vision of a restored Klamath River. Today’s actions bring the vast environmental benefits that will stem from dam removal closer to reality.”
“The KRRC is now up and running and through the FERC regulatory process, the KRRC will demonstrate it has the legal, financial, and technical capacity to become the licensee for four Klamath hydroelectric dams and oversee decommissioning activities,” said Lester Snow, vice president of the KRRC Board.
Sarah Kamman, vice president and general counsel of Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp said in the press release, “PacifiCorp looks forward to working with the KRRC and our other settlement partners to implement this important agreement. We continue to believe the KHSA is a fair way forward and in the interest of our electricity customers.”
The four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River are operated for hydroelectric power generation. Federal environmental agencies recommended that the dams need to be retrofitted to provide fish passage for salmon, steelhead, and other fish. The Oregon and California public utility commissions found that decommissioning the dams via the KHSA was a prudent alternative for PacifiCorp’s customers.
More information and copies of the applications may be found at the KRRC’s website: www.klamathrenewal.org



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