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View Full Version : FERC Finds Dam Removal Cheaper than Relicensing



Dan Bacher
11-19-2007, 04:28 PM
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on November 16 issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the relicensing of the Klamath dams, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The document's economic analysis shows that the removal of PacifiCorps's lower four Klamath dams would save ratepayers $7 million a year. *

At the same time, Karuk Tribes’ FERC negotiator Craig Tucker criticized the staff recommendations in the Final EIS for not being consistent with the mandatory terms and conditions set forth by federal agencies last year.

“In the end, unless PacifiCorp negotiates a dam removal agreement with us, they’re looking at building ladders at every facility and providing more water to the river at JC Boyle dam. That’s the law.”

P R E S S R E L E A S E

KARUK TRIBE ? PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION OF FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS

For Immediate Release: November 16, 2007

Contact: Craig Tucker, Klamath Coordinator, Karuk Tribe, 530-627-3446 x302, c 916-207-8294
Glen Spain, NW Director, PCFFA, 541-689-2000

FERC Final EIS Finds that Dam Removal is cheaper than relicensing
FERC Final License could Cost PacifiCorp millions

Happy Camp, CA – Today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the relicensing of the controversial Klamath dams. The document includes an economic analysis that shows that the removal of the lower four Klamath dams would save ratepayers $7 million dollars a year which will likely make it difficult for PacifiCorp to recover expenses from their customers. The FERC analysis showed that the dams would operate at a net loss of more than $20 million a year if relicensed.

Over the past five years, Klamath Basin Tribes, fishermen, and conservation groups have campaigned for the removal of the lower four Klamath dams. Since the construction of dams began at the turn of the last century salmon runs on the Klamath River have plummeted with some species going extinct and others being ESA listed. Tribes have suffered from a loss of fish for ceremonial, subsistence and commercial purposes. In 2006, non-native commercial fishermen from Monterey Bay, CA to Coos Bay, OR were not allowed to fish costing jobs and millions economic losses for the entire West Coast.

In the past years, dam removal advocates have worked to address the concerns and needs of agricultural communities in order to cultivate basin-wide support for dam removal and river restoration.

“We seek to restore the river as a means to restore the economies of all the rural communities of the Klamath Basin,” said Karuk Tribes’ FERC negotiator Craig Tucker. Tucker notes that the staff recommendations in the Final EIS are not consistent with the mandatory terms and conditions set forth by federal agencies last year. “In the end, unless PacifiCorp negotiates a dam removal agreement with us, they’re looking at building ladders at every facility and providing more water to the river at JC Boyle dam. That’s the law.” (see Federal Power Act section 18).

This point is underscored in the Final EIS when it acknowledges that the final license may differ from the recommended alternative due to the “mandatory nature” of the prescriptions by federal agencies (FEIS section 5-3, page xxxv).

Recent studies by the California Energy Commission are consistent with FERC’s own analysis comparing the cost of their recommended alternative to the removal of dams (page 4-2 of FEIS). Both agencies find dam removal to be cheaper than relicensing.

The next step in the FERC process is issuance of a final license. A negotiated agreement between PacifiCorp and Klamath stakeholders could put forth as the terms of such a license.

The other regulatory body that has a role in the process is the Public Utility Commissions (PUC) of Oregon and California. The costs associated with dam relicensing is typically recovered through power rate increases if the expenses are deemed ‘reasonable and prudent’ by the PUCs. “It’s hard to imagine that an alternative that increases power rates, destroys Tribal cultures, ruins America’s third greatest salmon river, and puts family fishermen out of work is reasonable or prudent,” commented Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Meanwhile, Tribes, fishermen, conservation groups, farmers, and state and federal agencies are urging PacifiCorp to work collaboratively for a better outcome. These parties are currently negotiating an agreement to remove dams, share water, and provide economic stability to Klamath Basin communities.

According to Tucker, “We believe we can remove dams in a manner that saves PacifiCorp money and addresses the needs of all Klamath Basin residents. All we need to succeed is for PacifiCorp to act in the best interest of their customers and shareholders.”


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For more information and previous press releases log on to: http://www.karuk.us/press%20&%20campaigns/press.php

Also see http://www.ferc.gov

S. Craig Tucker, Ph.D.
Klamath Campaign Coordinator
Karuk Tribe of California
office: 530-627-3446 x3027
cell: 916-207-8294
ctucker [at] karuk.us

http://www.karuk.us