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DOI Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision on the KBRA and Klamath dam destruction delayed by the legal coordination process

Trademark America’s President, Staci Grant on Feb. 27, announced that Siskiyou County California Supervisors have been told by Secretary of Interior Salazar that he will delay indefinitely any decision about whether to allow the process for destruction of Klamath River dams to continue.

Salazar must announce this decision to delay, because U.S. Congress must grant authorization for action on the Klamath River. He was expected to make a decision before March 31, 2012. This definitely puts a crack in the armor of the KBRA, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which decrees the four well-maintained, functioning hydro-electric dams are destroyed.

In a ballot initiative in Nov. 2010, more than 79 percent of the county citizens voted the dams should be saved and continue providing electricity. Siskiyou County was left out of the KBRA secretly-held meetings and the county was not allowed to be a stakeholder, even though three of the four dams are located in Siskiyou County.

Siskiyou County Supervisors Jim Cook and Michael Kopseff are in Washington, D.C. to advise Congress and staff of the severe economic losses that would result from destruction of the dams.

Grass roots groups, especially Siskiyou Co. Water Users Assoc., and the County of Siskiyou has insisted for months that the Department of Interior has violated federal law requiring that the Department coordinate the dam removal decision with the County, and seek consistency with County ordinances and policies that do not support dam destruction.

According to Supervisor Cook, “we were told that the Secretary is going to announce today that he will delay any decision on destruction of the dams until Congress grants him authority to take such action on the Klamath River.”

This is a huge eye-opening for those who believe the dams will come out, no matter what.

Supervisor Kobseff said, “the commitment was made that the Secretary will comply with all our County ordinances and policies and will follow all federal laws and guidelines. It was clear to us that there will be compliance with the coordination requirements in federal law.”

Adding to the pressure has been COPCO Volunteer Fire District and Sheriff Jon Lopey, working with the Siskiyou Water Users, which has held four coordination meetings with the Dept. of Interior, other federal agencies and Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game demanding consistency with local district and county policy regarding dam removal.

Finally, the federal governments are acknowledging that coordination is a process they must legally follow.

Supervisor Cook advised Congressional staff that destruction of the dams would eliminate “clean energy produced by hydroelectric generation that powers all of Siskiyou County.”

The County Supervisors have been assisted in their efforts to seek compliance with the coordination requirements of federal law by Trademark America’s Staci Grant, Jon Grant and attorney Fred Kelly Grant.

Staci Grant was present during Feb. 27th’s critical meeting. She said, “the Foundation’s Board cannot be happier that we have been able to work with the County Supervisors and County Counsel Tom Guarino in seeking such decision. It justifies all the work that so many people have put in around the nation to emphasize the importance of local government in the federal system.”

The two supervisors will hold more meetings with key members of Congress urging action to deny the Secretary the authority to allow destruction of the dams. And urge forest initiatives that will make the national forest lands in the County more economically productive, more wildlife friendly, and healthier.




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              Page Updated: Tuesday February 28, 2012 03:08 AM  Pacific

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