Will Tribes Hinder FERC Process for Klamath Dam Removal? 

 ​Klamath basin youth fight for access to traditional foods, salmon

​Klamath basin youth fight for access to traditional foods, salmon

Published December 31, 2015

KLAMATH RIVER BASIN—Members of the Klamath Basin attended a public meeting of the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council (KBCC) conference call on the status of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) on Monday December 28th 2015.

The KBCC parties were fairly terse on the call. The federal and state representatives said nothing at all. Humboldt County Supervisors expressed disappointment.

Klamath, Karuk, and Yurok Tribes did not withdraw their dispute notices so the KBRA will terminate on December 31st 2015 at the stroke of midnight.

Some of the KBRA parties will continue to push legislation. The Yurok Tribe seems to have abandoned the process and recently withdrew from the agreement but remain a signatory party.

While the KBRA terminates on Thursday, the other two agreements Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Act (KHSA) and the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA) do not terminate.

For over a decade one of the main points of contention has been dam removal on the river. In the KBRA, signatory parties wanted California rate and taxpayers to cover the cost of dam removal for Pacificorp, the owner of the hydroelectric dams in the Klamath basin.

The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), provided a planning process under which JC Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2, and Iron Gate dams might be removed beginning in 2020. The KHSA was conditioned upon enactment of federal legislation, among other factors. That legislation clearly will not occur.

Removal of the dams would reopen important salmon spawning habitat and improve water quality.

Will tribes take the first step toward achieving dam removal and terminate the agreement that has held up dam removal? 

There’s a process under sec. 8.11 of the KHSA for termination of the agreement.

The KHSA halts the water quality certification process. And completion of that process, the “401 certification” is the only thing that prevents FERC from issuing a license that will require volitional fish passage through the dam sites.

Termination of the agreement will remove the obstacle to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) action, which is also the objective of Hoopa’s and Yurok’s pending appeal.



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