By Ron Brown & Associated Press, KDRV.com,
February 10, 2009
COPCO LAKE, Ore. -- An Oregon Senate bill aimed at financing the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River is drawing fire from Siskiyou County supervisors.
The measure, supported by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, would direct the Public Utility Commission to increase power rates for PacifiCorp customers in Oregon and California to cover up to $200 million of the cost of removing the dams. The bulk of the money would come from Oregon ratepayers. Utility officials estimate that the average PacifiCorp customer would see a rate increase of about $1.50 per month under the legislation.
"We believe that there are a number of other options that would allow them to reach their goals without dam removal. But apparently the governor has decided that without doing NIPA, or in California, CEQUA (the California Environmental Quality Act), that dam removal is what he wants, and he's not going to look at any other options. We're very disappointed in that," says Siskiyou Co. Supervisor Jim Cook.
Stakeholders, state and federal officials and PacifiCorp reached a tentative dam removal agreement in November. They have until July 1 to reach a final agreement, with dam removal beginning by 2020.