For Immediate Release
Klamath Dams Aren’t Out Yet!
Dam Removal Advocates Optimistic, but Holding Out for Final Agreement
SACRAMENTO - Klamath Riverkeeper is cautiously optimistic
about a tentative, non-binding Agreement in Principle to remove four of
PacifiCorp's Klamath dams by 2020. While the Agreement in Principle
does provide a path toward dam removal, a Final Agreement has not yet
been signed and several important issues have not been resolved.
Klamath Riverkeeper has served as a watchdog over PacifiCorp's water
quality and environmental justice issues over the last several years,
and will continue pressuring PacifiCorp to comply with clean water laws
until the dams are removed.
all the work we've put in advocating for removal of these dams, it
feels good to hear the words ‘dam removal' come out of PacifiCorp
headquarters, and we applaud the bold stance stakeholders and policy
makers have taken. However, we won't throw our party until we see the
Final Agreement, and we're satisfied the terms of that agreement will
keep fish alive until 2020 on the Klamath River," said Malena Marvin of
members, fishermen, conservationists, and local people have logged a
lot of miles fighting for this river. We're not about to stop until we
see the water flowing free again," added Marvin.
addition to blocking salmon from half the Klamath River for the last 90
years, PacifiCorp's Klamath dams produce devastating water quality
conditions for fish, as well as the worst toxic algae problem in
America. The dams are currently being evaluated by California for a
Clean Water Act Section 401 pollution discharge permit, a process that
could block a new operating license from FERC given the dams'
exceedingly poor water quality. "We expect California's regulatory
process to continue until we have a Final Agreement, and Klamath
Riverkeeper will be there every step of the way making sure clean water
law is enforced," said Scott Harding of Klamath Riverkeeper.
Riverkeeper was not party to the settlement negotiations, and has
instead focused heavily on holding PacifiCorp accountable for clean
water violations on the Klamath River, including a lawsuit forcing the
2007 listing of the Klamath as impaired by the algal toxin microcystin
by the United States EPA. This listing has presented a serious
challenge to PacifiCorp's ability to obtain licenses needed to continue
operating the dams. Klamath Riverkeeper has also brought suits against
PacifiCorp directly, as well as California's State and Regional Water
Boards. Along with a coalition of Tribes and fishermen, Klamath
Riverkeeper has organized strategic grassroots actions at PacifiCorp's
offices in Portland as well as subsidiary-owner Warren Buffett's
Berkshire Shareholders' meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
particularly interested in the interim mitigation measures that will be
in place until 2020. From our perspective, a lot rests on the Final
Agreement's ability to make PacifiCorp take action for the
environmental and public health problems their dams have created for
people who live downstream," added Marvin.