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Board of supervisors continues work on Klamath resolution

By DAVID SMITH, Siskiyou Daily News, April 21, 2008 

YREKA - At their April 15 meeting, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors continued a process from last week to further improve its resolution in opposition of dam removal and the current Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).

District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong stated that the board wishes to pursue all alternative avenues to dam removal.

Board Chair Bill Overman stressed that the resolution is not the end of the issue, and that he'd like to see a coalition that would band together to lobby in Sacramento and Washington for help on the issue.

The board members also discussed the implications of the Klamath Compact and how it might affect the dam removal issue and ultimately the KBRA, alluding to the fact that decisions made with the Klamath Compact haven't always favored Siskiyou County, but that it may still have some answers for the situation.

The Klamath Compact became effective in 1957 when it was ratified by California, Oregon and the federal government. The compact details what waters from the Klamath River are to be used for, delegating which applications will be given a greater preference, with domestic use, irrigation, recreational, industrial and hydroelectric uses, in that order.

The compact also says, 'Each state shall exercise whatever administrative, judicial, legislative or police powers it has that are required to provide any necessary reregulation or other control over the flow of the Klamath River downstream from any hydroelectric power plant for protection of fish, human life or property from damage caused by fluctuations resulting from the operation of such plant.'

At the end of the discussion, the board voted to approve the revisions to the draft of the resolution and the accompanying cover letter, both of which have been released to the public. The cover letter addresses the fact that the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is 'strongly opposed to removal of the dams along the Klamath River' and that 'there has been a marked lack of meaningful effort to identify and mitigate the far-reaching consequences of these proposals on Siskiyou County and its citizens.'

The resolution reveals concerns about the financial responsibility of removing the dams, the effect of the release of sediment build-up on river wildlife, economic impact on the county and the loss of property value to homeowners in the affected areas.

Supervisor LaVada Erickson said Friday that she feels the resolution accurately addresses concerns that opponents to dam removal in Siskiyou County have, and she said that there are probably more concerns out there.

'There are several issues tied to [the dam issue] down the road if these concerns are not addressed,' she continued, concerned that the various questions raised by the board had been disregarded in the KBRA.

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