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Phone poll: Residents oppose dam removal

State lawmakers commissioned the poll conducted in Klamath County

By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 5/15/09

A majority of Klamath County residents who answered a phone survey are opposed to removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, according to a news release.

State Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, and state Reps. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, and George Gilman, RMedford commissioned the survey to gauge public opinion on state legislation that would facilitate dam removal.

“Many in Salem are trying to paint the picture that there is little to no opposition to the concept of dam removal. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Whitsett said in the release.

Key component

Dam removal is a key component of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which seeks to resolve water disputes between fishermen, farmers, tribes and conservationists.

Senate Bill 76, currently in committee in the Oregon House, would allow Portland-based PacifiCorp to charge its Oregon customers about $1.50 per month to help pay for dam removal.

The survey was conducted by Target Market Strategies between May 6 and 13. Three hundred people provided responses and the results are statistically accurate within plus or minus 5.7 percent. Respondents included Democrats, independents, Republicans and other registered voters.

The results of the survey are:

65 percent opposed to dam removal.
68 percent opposed to public purchase of reservation land for the Klamath Tribes.
73 percent opposed to the closed and conf idential negotiations involved in developing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Agreement in Principle to remove dams.
58 percent are unwilling to pay higher electric rates as the result of the shift to renewable energy or dam removal.
83 percent are very or somewhat concerned that these agreements will provide the Tribes with too much control over Klamath Basin water.

Whitsett and Garrard said they paid for the survey through their own election funds. Whitsett did not disclose how much he contributed, but Garrard said he provided a few hundred dollars.

Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, did not return a late Thursday afternoon request for comment.

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              Page Updated: Saturday May 16, 2009 01:28 AM  Pacific

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