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Dam removal makes no economic sense

by Bart and Mary Kent, Siskiyou Daily News July 14, 2009

Copco Lake - Dear Editor,

As homeowners on Copco Lake, one of the reservoirs formed by the Klamath River dams, my wife and I take issue with several comments in Craig Tucker’s recent Guest Opinion.

First, Mr. Tucker states that PacifiCorp is entering into dam removal willingly and that local government should not interfere. This is false. From the beginning PacifiCorp’s interest was in re-licensing the dams. They spent millions of dollars toward this. It was only after legal maneuvering by those insisting on dam removal that they changed their position. Our local government should interfere. These are the people we elect to look out for our interests and we are very proud of the position and actions Ms. Armstrong and the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors have taken.

Tucker states the pending agreements would bring together nearly a billion dollars, some designated to Siskiyou County to fund dam removal. There is no guarantee that local contractors will be hired and that the money will stay in Siskiyou County. Usually these contracts are put out to public bid with no guarantee to the local workforce.

Removal of the dams will greatly diminish the property values around Copco Lake and downriver. Long before the current economic crisis the real estate market was penalizing the Copco Lake area while other areas in the county were showing typical appreciation in property values. As a 20-year licensed California real estate appraiser I watched in amazement the values decline around Copco Lake due to dam removal discussion. We are still at least 11 years from possible removal of the dams, so common sense dictates our values will continue to decline. All property owners can relate to our frustration Outside parties are making decisions that will affect our property values and yet we were excluded from any discussion or decisions. No mention has ever been made of any compensation to the property owners who have so much at stake.

My last issue is this – Mr. Tucker referring to us as dam huggers is not in keeping with his statement that leaders from the communities sit down and talk to one another. Name-calling is divisive and caustic. The situation we face is difficult enough without having Mr.. Tucker cause further alienation. I ask the Karuk tribe: Is this the type of commentary you wish to see from your Klamath coordinator?

Consideration of dam removal makes no sense in this economic atmosphere, not to mention the loss of the green power supplied by the dams.

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