Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Hoopa Tribe petitions feds to speed up dam removal
Attorney: Agreements are bogged down in Congress
by JEFF BARNARD May 31, 2012, Herald and News,
The Hoopa Tribe has petitioned federal authorities to restart the bureaucratic process in hopes it will speed up removal of four Klamath River dams.
Tribal attorney Tom Schlosser said Tuesday the current dam-removal agreement was hopelessly bogged down in Congress and going back to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission offers the best chance to enforce the Clean Water Act and open up the river for struggling salmon and to improve water quality.
“They (FERC) are in a position to move this thing off dead center, and nobody else is,” Schlosser said. “It’s just stranded.”
PacifiCorp, the Portland-based utility that owns the dams, says it wants to stick with the current plan.
“We are already collecting millions of dollars from our customers for dam removal costs,” said spokesman Bob Gravely. “We are not going out and spending millions of dollars in effect on relicensing. That’s what they are trying to do.”
The tribe, whose reservation is at the junction of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in Northern California, has opposed from the beginning a pair of agreements, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, signed at the Oregon Capitol two years ago to end a century of water battles in the Klamath Basin. Besides laying out terms for removing the dams, which provide power for 70,000 customers of PacifiCorp, the agreements lay out how water will be shared between irrigators and fish in times of scarcity.
Schlosser said the agreements grew out of a desire to provide reliable irrigation water for farmers, and failed to set out hard goals for the ecological restoration of the Klamath River Basin. He said in order to renew its license to operate the hydroelectric dams, PacifiCorp would have to spend millions of dollars to build fish ladders over them and clean up toxic algae growing in the reservoirs.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was supposed to decide in March whether dam removal was feasible, but had to put that off because authorization to make the decision and $800 million for environmental restoration have been blocked in Congress.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
Page Updated: Friday June 01, 2012 12:48 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2012, All Rights Reserved