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Seeking input - Stakeholders plan public meetings


No dates yet for public meetings on dam removal

by Ty Beaver, Herald and News 10/6/09
Those who crafted a Klamath River dam removal agreement will meet in the coming weeks to tie the document into the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Also, meetings to receive public feedback also are planned.

Stakeholders said Monday no firm meetings or dates are set, but they will begin charting a path to getting both documents to Congress soon.

“We want both agreements signed before the end of the year,” said Craig Tucker, Klamath campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe of California.

Tucker said he envisioned meetings for stakeholders to go over the KBRA to take place in the next two to three weeks. No major changes would be made, but sections that required a dam removal agreement can now be drafted. Dates also can be updated.

Need for public meetings

Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, said his organization’s board will discuss the need for public meetings during a Wednesday board meeting.

“Immediately, right now, we’re focused on ‘what do we need to do to shore up the KBRA,’ ” he said.

Addington thought public meetings could be scheduled in the next 30 to 45 days. Tucker said he will be discussing how to present the dam removal agreement to the Karuk tribal membership later this week.

Klamath County could also have its own round of public comment.. The county is listed as a party on the dam removal agreement.

Klamath County Commissioner Cheryl Hukill said the Klamath County Board of Commissioners had yet to discuss the issue of public meetings and said that would be looked at.

“I’m sure we won’t have any public comment until we have both (documents) read,” she said.

About the KBRA and dam removal

Dam removal. Water supplies. Environmental protections. Affordable power.

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement covers a wide variety of issues impacting the communities of the Klamath River Basin. Stakeholders met regularly for years in closed meetings to develop the document.

Among its conditions is helping the Klamath Tribes acquire the Mazama Tree Farm, helping irrigators with stable water supply, encouraging affordable power rates and removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to restore fish passage.

Dam removal is specifically dealt with in the recently-released Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Federal and state government officials and other stakeholders along with PacifiCorp representatives worked on that document after reaching a tentative agreement in November 2008.

The agreement has proponents from most stakeholder groups but others oppose it. Many irrigators off the Klamath Reclamation Project say the agreement does little for them.

Some environmental groups criticize the agreement for doing too little too late for wildlife and the river’s ecosystem. Others are opposed or for it based on personal politics or other reasons.
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