WASHINGTON — PacificCorp, local, state, tribal and federal partners have reached a draft agreement on a proposal to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today.
The draft Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which will be available for public review, would establish a process through which Secretary Salazar would investigate the costs and benefits of removing four dams on the Klamath River.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Klamath River and for the communities whose health and way of life depend on it,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “Hats off to all the stakeholders who have worked so hard to find common ground on one of the most challenging water issues of our time. This agreement would establish an open, scientifically grounded process that will help me make a fully informed decision about whether dam removal is in the public interest.”
The draft agreement announced today will now be presented to the public for review and to the negotiating parties’ respective boards, commissions, councils for final approval. The parties negotiating the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement include Federal, state, local and tribal governments, water users, environmental and fishing organizations, and power generators. Once the parties sign a final agreement, the Federal government will begin a formal public process that will provide additional opportunities for the general public to help inform the secretarial review process and the related environmental review.
“If it was not for the good-faith efforts of a wide range of stakeholders and the engagement of the public, we would not have reached this milestone” added Salazar. “It is vital that all parties stay engaged, lend their ideas and views on this draft agreement and – importantly – complete the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement as well.”
Salazar noted that the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement is intended to work in tandem with the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement . The latter is an effort to find local solutions that would rebuild the Klamath fishery and sustain agricultural communities who rely on the Klamath River for their livelihoods.
“Though we have made great progress in recent months, our work is not yet done,” Salazar emphasized. “I have directed Federal negotiators to immediately begin to finalize the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. True basin-wide restoration can only occur if we act to implement the restoration agreement and the hydroelectric settlement concurrently.”