Others who support the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and dam removal believe the setback is minor.
“The Secretary wasn’t able to make his decision this month, because we need legislation... we need Congress to act before he can do that,” said Curtis Knight, Conservation Director at California Trout. “Everyone’s doing their job, so when the determination is made, everything’s on track for dam removal in 2020.”
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is tasked with weighing all scientific evidence before making a formal decision whether or not removing four dams on the Klamath River is in the best interest of the public and the fishery. He was set to make the decision by March 31, but two weeks ago it was announced the decision would be postponed because Congress must first pass legislation authorizing him to do so.
Supervisors to Washington
Hoping to prevent the Klamath dam removal decision, Cook said he and Kobseff discussed that and forestry issues with several people while in DC on Feb. 27 and 28. They spoke with Representative Tom McClintock, who they’ve worked with in the past but had not met face to face, as well as Idaho senator Mike Crapo and John Bezdek, special advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. Bezdek has been to Siskiyou County numerous times.
Cook said he and Kobseff gave McClintock and Bezdek “an update on where we are. That was our goal, to get our side out there, and we accomplished that.”
Kobseff said he believes the county’s intent to sue had some affect on the Determination postponement.
District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela said he supported his fellow supervisors’ trip, calling it “part of the political process... to lobby your point of view.” However, he questions “spending precious resources” to fight dam removal, especially when the Secretarial Determination now has no set date.
Valenzuela said, “I’d estimate the county has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on fighting dam removal when there are things that are more important right now, like Secure Rural Schools funding,” which is set to sunset June 30.