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County issues ‘negotiating points’ on Klamath hydro agreement

by Dale Andreasen, Siskiyou Daily News December 11, 2009

Yreka, Calif. - The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved a list of 12 “negotiating points” regarding the pending Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) at this week’s board meeting.

The supervisors believe that the negotiating points could become major obstacles to any approval of the hydroelectric agreement by the county.

“These 12 points are key to Siskiyou County giving any consideration to the document at all,” said board chair Michael Kobseff. “This is huge. They are asking us to sign a document that would have us breaking the law.”

Kobseff was referring to the demand that the county sign the agreement by Jan. 14, before the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are complied with or studied.

The settlement agreement requires that the county also sign the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) as a prerequisite to participation in the hydro agreement. The county has presented many objections to the KBRA over the past year. One negotiating point asks that the parties agree that the county does not have to sign the KBRA.

“They require us to sign the KBRA and there’s still not even a final document,” said Kobseff. The list of negotiating points was prepared by County Counsel Thomas Guarino. The board directed that copies be sent to participating agencies of the state and federal governments and to various elected and non-elected officials.

Accompanying letters were also approved for mailing to Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Resources Agency Secretary Mike Chrisman. Other negotiating points include:

•?The potential effects and possible replacement of the city of Yreka’s water supply;

•?A renewable energy source equal in capacity to the hydroelectric dams must be identified and funded prior to dam removal and the county not be required to advocate for rate increases;

• The secretary of the interior must direct his staff to fulfill the coordination obligations to the county;

• $2..5 million must be provided to the county for participation in and evaluation of the underlying environmental, economic and social studies to be utilized by the secretary of interior to make his determination of whether or not to proceed with dam removal;

•Environmental studies must include a review of all possible contaminants in the sediment released by dam removal, including dioxin;

• Along with economic studies outlining impacts to the county, the cumulative impacts of federal policies and programs on the county must be included in the CEQA and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews;

• Rights of the Shasta Tribe must not be infringed upon, including impacts on burial grounds or allowing other tribes to infringe on the Shasta’s fishing areas;

• President Obama’s statement on scientific integrity must be incorporated as a benchmark standard;

• Full funding for all impacts identified through the NEPA and CEQA processes must be provided; lakeshores, lake beds and riverbanks must be restored to their natural state; and

•?Allowable Timber Sale Quantity (ASQ) in the Northwest Forest Plan must be met.

The motion to approve the negotiating points was made by Kobseff and was seconded by Supervisor Grace Bennett. It passed 5-0.

Later in the meeting, a discussion took place concerning the proposed rate increase by Pacific Power. The board voted 5-0 to oppose the increase and selected

Supervisor Marcia Armstrong to represent the county at the hearing.

County Administrator Brian McDermott was instructed to assist in preparation of a list of potential earmarks for Sen. Diane Feinstein. Supervisor Jim Cook made a request that a new sewage sludge treatment facility be included on the list. The motion passed 5-0. Supervisor Ed Valenzuela made a motion to award a contract of approximately $2.3 million to Timberworks for the construction of the Wagon Creek Arm Pedestrian Bridge on the Lake Shastina Trail project.

Timberworks was the low bidder out of six bids received. Valenzuela’s motion passed 5-0. Of the total amount of the contract, $1.2 million was provided by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.

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