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No cheap power rate for Project irrigators in their leaders' Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement/KBRA

1/23/2010, by a KBC editor

Thursday at the unadvertised "public" meeting of the Klamath Water Users Association / KWUA at OIT in Klamath Falls, more than 100 people came to ask questions and express opinions. The meeting was mentioned in an article in the Herald and News, and there was a notice on the KWUA website the day before the meeting. Otherwise, the Klamath irrigators were not contacted about their chance to question KWUA director Greg Addington and attorney Paul Simmons.

Addington said that, although the affordable power rate promised to Klamath irrigators is largely a loan, it would be 2-4 cents rather than full tariff rate.

President of Klamath Off Project irrigators Tom Mallams, who was allowed to attend the negotiations for only power issues, said that the DOI / Dept of the Interior representative said there was "a snowball's chance" of that low of rate, and said it would be closer to 5 to 7 cents. That would be added to an estimated 4.5 cent delivery charge. So in essence, the rate could be 9.5 - 11.5 or more, possibly more than current tariff rate.

When that fact was exposed at the closed-door KBRA negotiations, the discussion was that they should use vague language to sell this special power rate to their constituents.

According to Mallams, if the rate is set at 7 cents, and the irrigators manage to obtain or create cheaper power, the difference must be paid back. Whatever the power rate target number is, plus transmission charges, will be the cheapest power rate you will be able to get unless the full $41 million is repaid. He said after the select settlement stakeholders vote to accept the agreement, then Interior Secretary Salazar will set the power rate. Recently they changed the wording; the Secretary will be the one who approves the rate set by the KBRA Management entity overseeing section 17 in the agreement, which is still basically the same thing.

Other aspects of the KBRA were discussed. Giving US Fish and Wildlife a huge new water right. Giving the river a new water right. The fact that the biological opinions and Endangered Species Act will regulate how much water will be left over for our farms. The fact that there is no Drought Plan.

HERE for KBRA Page


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              Page Updated: Sunday January 24, 2010 03:43 AM  Pacific

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