Mixed views on dam removal
by Ty Beaver, Oct 8/09
Federal lawmakers from Oregon and California are voicing mixed
thoughts on a Klamath River dam removal agreement released last
A few have called it a good step forward while others disagree.
U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who represents Modoc County,
called it insanity.
Here’s a breakdown of the statements provided by those in
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Walden hadn’t released any comments on
the dam removal agreement. There was no response to an e-mail
seeking comment and follow-up phone calls made Monday morning and
afternoon were not returned.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
Merkley’s spokes-woman, Julie Edwards, said in an e-mail that the
senator met with those on both sides of the dam removal issues.
The last few years have included difficult discussions but also
dedication and tenacity from those involved, she said.
The senator now looks forward to reviewing the dam removal
agreement and hearing from the public about it.
“It is critically important that members of the community take the
opportunity to weigh in during the public comment period,” Edwards
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Wyden characterized the release of the dam removal agreement as an
excellent start and called it a landmark settlement agreement in
comments provided by his office.
“Improving fish runs on the Klamath River while preserving farming
and wildlife is vital to the future of the Klamath Basin,” Wyden
said. “(The) settlement agreement to address the issue of dam
removal is a major step toward achieving these goals.”
U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
“I think it’s absolute insanity,” McClintock said of the dam
The congressman said Californians already are paying some of the
highest energy prices in the country and that it is sheer lunacy
to get rid of some of the cheapest power available.
He said some environmental groups are still not happy with the dam
removal agreement and could continue to fight it.
“It’s very clear this solves nothing and adds to our electricity
and water shortages,” McClintock said. “I will oppose it at every
step of the way.”
U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif.
Herger said he is dismayed that overarching and unyielding
environmental policy was forcing the possibility of dam removal.
In a press release provided by his office, the congressman
representing Siskiyou County said he found it contradictory the
dams could be removed based on state law and the need for
renewable energy and water storage.
The Endangered Species Act is driving the concept of dam removal,
when it also brought about the Klamath Basin water crisis in 2001
and is now impacting California’s Central Valley, he said.
“From the spotted owl to salmon and suckerfish to the delta smelt,
we continue to witness the impacts of federal policy that leave
our citizens picking up the pieces of their livelihood,” Herger
The congressman said he is pleased the U.S. Department of Interior
appears committed to studying the implications of dam removal, but
the consequences of dam removal also need to be mitigated.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Feinstein said the dam removal agreement was an important step
forward and commended those who’d worked on the document,
including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar.
“I recognize that there are still some concerns that need to be
addressed from some parties, and I encourage all parties to
continue to work together to resolve them,” said the senator in a