The study in question, titled “Economic Impact of the Klamath Settlement Agreements,” was authored by Dr. David Gallo, professor emeritus at California State University, Chico. He stated in the report that “on an annual basis, Siskiyou County income would be higher by $16.58 million and average employment would increase by 298 full- and part-time jobs” if the dams were to be removed.
Donna Boyd appeared before the board on behalf of Cal Trout. She asked the supervisors to consider meeting with Dr. Gallo at next week’s meeting, at which point he would discuss with them “the factual basis of his findings. We ask that you hold off on voting until you speak to Gallo,” she concluded.
Board Chair Marcia Armstrong spoke first, stating that she views his findings not as a study, but as a political document.
“This was released at the same time as Cal Trout started its campaign saying that dam removal would bring jobs, jobs, jobs,” she said.
She cited several past studies commissioned by Cal Trout she felt “had a lot of errors,” including a study looking at the value implications on private property from reservoirs going down.
“The study did not take into consideration the distortion of Prop. 13, and the result was a garbage study that Cal Trout paid for,” she said.
District 4 Supervisor Grace Bennett stated that her problem with the study was that it “was not backed up by statistics.”
According to Bennett, the report states that dam removal would bring 100 percent fish recovery.
“There’s no way they can say that,” she said, adding that she felt there were no statistics to back up claims made regarding its impact on agriculture and alternative energy facilities that would be located in Siskiyou County.
District 1 Supervisor Jim Cook called the report a “Cal Trout political fluff piece,” and said he feels the report isn’t balanced on all the alternatives to dam removal. He added that he would be against meeting with Gallo.
“I don’t want it to turn into a discussion about the value of his report,” Cook said. “I don’t have an issue with that. I’m sure he did a good job, given his parameters. I’m just saying I don’t want it to be used in the NEPA/CEQA process. That’s all we’re saying here,” he said.
District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff also said he was against meeting with Gallo.
“Now Gallo wants to answer our questions? He should have done that long before the report was released,” he said. “Now his credibility is out the window.”
Valenzuela said he felt that at the very least the board could postpone the vote for a week and hear what Gallo had to say.
“The board is already on the record as being against dam removal,” he said. “This will be just another letter that says, ‘Yes, we’re against dam removal.’ We have better things to do than write another letter.”
He added that he feels that the people making the decisions about dam removal “aren’t going to treat this report as the gospel. I look at it as another piece of information.”
The board voted 3-2 against meeting with Gallo, with Valenzuela and Bennett voting in favor of the meeting.
For more information about the findings of Gallo’s report, visit http://www.caltrout.org/article.asp?id=441&bc=1.