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Public needs to weigh in on issue of dam removal

Herald and News letter to the editor 11/8/09, by Mike Tyrholm, Klamath Falls

    The impression is being put forward that dam removal is a done deal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    There are many hoops to jump through first. The public needs to weigh in and verbalize its opinion. To this point, the public has been systematically excluded from the total process. After all, it is every taxpayer and every home and business who uses PacifiCorp power who is going to pay 100 percent of dam removal, not PacifiCorp.

    Our elected state representatives Sen. Doug Whitsett, Rep. Bill Garrard and Rep. George Gilman as well as Northern California U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, U.S. Rep.  Wally Herger and former assemblyman Doug LaMalfa, who is running for the Senate, are all adamantly opposed to what is going on.

    In a recent poll, only 11 percent of Klamath County registered voters favored dam removal. An additional poll in Oregon, Washington and Idaho had the same basic results: “Leave Clean Hydro Power in Place.”

    If the Klamath River dams come out, the dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers will surely be next. Then what will we do for clean, renewable power?

    In this agreement, Keno Dam is to be deeded to the federal government and this federal government control is supposed to provide additional protection for this structure.

    Have we forgotten all the “protections” the federal government provided during the 2001 Klamath River water shutoff? If anything, there will be less protection under federal government ownership.

    As it is now, under PacifiCorp ownership, there are a lot of protections because of private property rights. The city of Klamath Falls: Cherish your memories of Lake Ewauna as this local landmark would disappear with the Keno Dam.

    A Basin-wide settlement is a worthy goal, but as currently written, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Dam Removal Agreement does not achieve it.
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