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Eight reasons the dams should stay
 
Guest Opinion by Dorothy Dana, Montague, Pioneer Press 10/21/09
 
In the late 30's and early 40's there was a movement to create a new state to be called The STATE OF JEFFERSON. Counties in The Northern part of California and the Southern Counties of Oregon were tired of being overlooked by the politicians in Sacramento, CA and Salem, OR and as a result a real effort was made to form a new State that would look out for itsí interests.

While I am not advocating that we create a new State, I am deeply aware that the mentality of our government today certainly mimics the same mentality that existed in those early years. Special Interest Groups, and our Federal and State Government still do not listen to the voices of the people; although lip service is often extended they push ahead with their own agenda. When an issue is put to a vote, voters from more populated areas seem to make decisions on issues that do not directly concern them while smaller counties get pushed around and ignored in the process.

This brings me to the issue at hand. Siskiyou County has 4 dams that are currently on the chopping block. SB371 (Cogdill) had amendments prepared to fund dam removal on the Klamath at $260 million. While Mr. Cogdill never actually amended his water bond proposal at the end of session, he did have amendments drafted by the Legislative Counsel to do so.

How dare our Governor and legislature decide to go ahead with this legislation without a real scientific study of what and how it will affect Siskiyou County and the community where the dams exist, and the wildlife that depend on the dam's existence. And then try to sneak it through when our State is bankrupt and cannot even pay for the services that already exist!
Here is some common sense and reality based knowledge: First and foremost if the dams are removed as the Environmentalists and Federal and State Agencies and Special Interests are advocating the following adverse conditions will occur. Environmentalists if you really care Beware:

1. DIOXIN OR CYANIDE Two chemicals that are most likely to come from the upper Klamath Basin will be released into the water system. At present the latest environmental studies being considered for Copco Lake doesn't even include a request to gather that information. There is a possibility that if the dam is removed the water will be contaminated and if this is so everything in its path including the ocean estuary will ultimately be affected.

2. With the removal of the dams the SALMON POPULATION WILL NOT IMPROVE as advocates have tried to convince people. Reason: The salmon eggs deposited in the gravel by the adult salmon will suffocate because of the tons of sediment that will inundate the spawning area.

3. Wild Native Trout, yellow perch, bass, crappie, cat fish, crawdads that inhabit the lake will all perish. Pelicans, ducks, geese, osprey, eagles, otters, blue cranes, minks, deer and all of the critters that live along the lake will disappear. A one hundred year old (100) eco-system will be destroyed.

4. Contrary to the media hype that the Blue Green Algae in Iron Gate and Copco Lake are toxic, A RECENT STUDY DONE by the CDC on 88 participants at Copco Lake and Iron Gate has proven the opposite to be true. The results of the study: "There is Minimal to little Health Risk to the Public due to the Blue Green Algae in these Two Reservoirs." This information was given to those in attendance at a Public Meeting held in Yreka, CA which included representatives from the State Public Health and Siskiyou County Public Health as well as State Water Quality Resource Control Board.

5. Copco Lake Volunteer Firemen are on call whenever there is a fire in the area which includes Yreka, Ashland, and surrounding mountains. Helicopters obtain water from Copco Lake to help extinguish the fires. No Lake, no water, no help!

6. Tourism and Recreation are an important aspect of Siskiyou County's economy. Businesses that depend on campers, fishermen, boaters, and their families for the purchase of gasoline, food, camping equipment, clothing, restaurants, etc. will be the hardest hit The ramifications for an economic downward spiral for an already hurting economy in Siskiyou County are a real threat.
 
7. Dams are important for flood control, there will be a danger of flooding to people who live below the dams especially when sediment fills up the river beds.

8. MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL NOT HAVE A LAKE TO ENJOY; Copco Lake is a beautiful, peaceful environment a great place to live and visit. Those of us that are concerned about dam removal had been asked by a government official "WHY DO YOU ALL CARE IF THE DAMS GO OUT YOU WILL NOT BE ALIVE TO SEE IT?" Well we do care and it is precisely for future generations that we continue our fight to keep the dams in tact.

In conclusion:

Our State and our nation are experiencing an economic crisis mostly due to officials that have made some very bad decisions; in my opinion, removing our 4 dams Copco 1, Copco 2, J.C. Boyle and Iron Gate Dam is another bad decision. Removing 4 dams that will cost the taxpayer possibly billions of dollars that provide electricity for 70,000 homes; electricity that is cheap, clean, and renewable and is already functioning does not make sense.
Our California Governor wants to build a dam in the South and yet wants to take out our dams in the North. What does that tell us? Our water is more important to the South than it is to us or they want our water? Some thing to ponder.

If the dams are removed an alternative source of energy will have to be built a source of energy that will be more expensive to rate payers in California and Oregon. We do not need to subsidize a business to provide green power when we already have green power. If more energy is needed we should be advocating for the dams in conjunction with alternate sources not elimination of dams that are already functioning.

Something is wrong with the picture when politicians cannot grasp this thought. Could it be there is something in it for them?''
 
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