The Klamath Agreements may to be on their final days. Rep. Greg Walden (R- Hood River) is rumored to attempt to slam through fraudulent legislation for the Klamath agreement this week. The bill as is no longer includes language for dam removal, a primary bargained for benefit to signatory tribes.
Rate payers have been charged a fee on their monthly bill from PacifiCorp for a number of years for dam removal. But if legislators have no intention of removing the dams, where did fees rate payers have been charged go?
California’s Hoopa Tribe was part of initial Klamath talks but refused to support the accord on grounds that it didn’t guarantee sufficient flows for struggling Coho and Chinook salmon.
The Klamath River flows through the Hoopa Reservation and the Trinity River is a tributary to the Klamath. Trinity water flows secured by the Hoopa Tribe have contributed significantly to saving salmon populations in the Klamath when Klamath water levels were not secured by enforcement of Klamath Tribes senior water right.
Allegedly, two signatory tribes remain. The Karuk Tribe of California and the Klamath Tribes of Oregon.
Andrew Malcolm, communication director for Walden stated, “The fact is we felt the need to remind people that we’re trying to protect the taxpayers here and that for the tribes to get land, they are giving up some of their senior water. [Gentry, Chairman of the Klamath Tribes] doesn’t like the word ‘waive,’ but in reality, once the agreements become permanent, that’s what they’re doing.”
The agreement issue is not about dam removal. The dams are out of compliance and will come down regardless. The Klamath issue is who’s paying for dam removal?
The hydropower license needed for PacifiCorp to operate its dams on the Klamath expired in 2006, but the PacifiCorp has delayed the relicensing of the dams since then using a legal-gray-area outlined in the KHSA.
The Hoopa Tribe’s tactic of forcing the hand of FERC to get PacifiCorp to proceed with relicensing of the dams has better odds of removing the deteriorating dams than the glorified Klamath Agreements.
To relicense the dams in compliance with the Clean Water Act, PacifiCorp needs to apply for Water Quality Certification from regulatory agencies in California and Oregon, where the dams are located.
“Plainly the operation of the hydro project violates the water quality rules,” Hoopa attorney Tom Schlosser said, adding the dams’ previous 1956 license pre-dates environmental law.
According to the Triplicate, “Even if water quality certifications were completed and a new license issued, it would require PacifiCorp to install ladders to provide for passage of migratory fish through the dams, an action already mandated by National Marine Fisheries Service.
Fish ladders would exceed the cost of dam removal and the dams would produce less energy and be less profitable, making dam removal the most economical option for shareholders and ratepayers.”
California and Oregon’s public utilities commissions determined dam removal is the best option for ratepayers.
Buffet has found individuals to lobby for PacifiCorp dam removal, tribes and front groups alike. For California and Oregon tax payers to foot the bill, leaving PacifiCorp exempt of financial responsibility.
Members of the Hoopa Tribe and Klamath Tribes refuse to endorse the fatal agreements because they unilaterally terminate tribal water rights. Rights that are intended to be enforced to protect the environment.
“The ancestors pray for our fish. And our fish always pray with us because we take care of them and they take care of us,” says Oni Rose Orcutt, 7 year old Hoopa, Yurok and Karuk descendant.
“We are asking you to not support Walden’s bill. Because this bill is killing our salmon and terminating our water rights. Ts’ediyah. Thank You,” stated 10 year old Presley Orcutt , Hoopa, Yurok and Karuk descendant.
Help support our friends in the Hoopa Valley community and Klamath Tribes protect their salmon by not endorsing– SB 133: Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015, The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA)
Help support an effort that will truly “Undam the Klamath and bring the salmon home.”