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County says: Let's talk
Pioneer Press January 14, 2009
The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors last week agreed to sit down at the bargaining table and hash out details of the Final Agreement regarding the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
But last week's decision to talk doesn't mean the board supports dam removal. Their intention, according to Siskiyou County Counsel Tom Guarino, is to have "a voice in the process" without committing to dam removal.
Specifically, the board is asking for more studies, environmental reviews, scientific examinations and other analyses based on "sound science." But at least one supervisor, Jim Cook, admitted that it would be good for the board to be involved in the talks - just in case the dams do come down.
There is little doubt among observers that the dams are likely to come down. The goal for county leaders, then, is to make sure they negotiate the best possible package for county residents - including monetary commitments for property owners along the dams and down river.
Meanwhile, Karuk spokesperson Craig Tucker recently told the Pioneer Press that the county could come out big losers if they decide to stay away from the talks. He said there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake - money that could go to county subcontractors. But if the county refuses to negotiate, he said, "they don't deserve to get anything."
That's likely part of the reason the county has shown some give when it comes to dam removal talks.
PacifiCorp - who owns the dams -the federal government, the state of California and the state of Oregon recently reached an Agreement in Principle regarding the J.C. Boyle Dam, Copco Dam No. 1, Copco Dam No. 2 and Iron Gate Dam. Pending the results of a four-year study, the dams are tentatively scheduled for removal in 2020.
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