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PacifiCorp may agree to removing dams (Klamath River)
The Oregonian ^ | August 03, 2006 | JEFF BARNARD

Posted on 08/03/2006 10:14:43 AM PDT by calcowgirl

PacifiCorp may agree to removing dams
But such a step to help Klamath salmon runs wouldn't be taken if higher power rates resulted, the utility says

The new president of PacifiCorp's power generating division says the utility could agree to remove five dams from the Klamath River to help restore salmon if customers don't have to pay more for electricity.

"We have heard the tribes' concerns," PacifiCorp Energy President Bill Fehrman said in a statement posted Wednesday on the utility's Web site. "We are not opposed to dam removal or other settlement opportunities as long as our customers are not harmed and our property rights are respected."

The company said the statement reflected its position all along in talks concerning a new 50-year license to operate the dams. But Native American tribes characterized it as an encouraging move toward restoring salmon to 350 miles of river blocked by the dams for nearly 100 years.

In Portland, about 200 people, mostly members of tribes along the Klamath River, rallied at the Oregon Convention Center where 2,000 hydroelectric experts from around the world met for a conference.

Demonstrators chanted "Undam the Klamath, bring the salmon home" as tribal representatives voiced cautious optimism that the new PacifiCorp management would hear their words.

"The company is behaving differently under the new management," said Craig Tucker, coordinator of the dam removal campaign for the Karuk Tribe. "Certainly when we first started, they said there was no way they were going to consider dam removal. This is the first time they've released a media statement with us saying, 'Dam removal is OK by us.' They just don't want to stick it to (their) ratepayers."

PacifiCorp posted the statement at the request of the Yurok, Karuk, Klamath and other tribes, in conjunction with the rally.

"By working with us on this visionary restoration effort, PacifiCorp could become a model for corporate responsibility," Allen Foreman, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, said in a statement.

The tribes will be looking to Oregon and California governments to develop a package of grants and tax incentives to help PacifiCorp remove the dams, Tucker said.

The cost of that package will become more clear as the relicensing process continues, and PacifiCorp sees what it will have to spend to continue operating the dams, he added.

PacifiCorp created PacifiCorp Energy and hired Fehrman from a Nebraska power cooperative as part of a reorganization after being taken over this year by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., based in Des Moines, Iowa, and controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett.

Fehrman has been active in settlement talks and has spoken with tribal leaders since becoming president, said Dave Kvamme, a company spokesman.

"We would far prefer reaching a settlement agreeable to all parties than to work through the standard licensing process to its conclusion," Kvamme said, "because we think there's more room for a creative outcome through settlement than there is through standard licensing process."

Once the third-largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, the Klamath River has produced only a fraction of its historic runs since five dams were built between 1917 and 1962. Spring chinook are a remnant of former runs. Fall chinook are struggling. And coho salmon are listed as a threatened species.

To protect the Klamath's struggling fall runs of wild chinook, federal fisheries managers this year cut off most of the commercial salmon fishing along 700 miles of the California and Oregon coastline. The Bush administration is considering an economic disaster declaration to make possible millions of dollars in aid for salmon fishermen.

The dams produce about 150 megawatts, enough to power about 75,000 homes in California. The power represents 1.7 percent of PacifiCorp's total output for 1.6 million customers in six Western states.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to issue an environmental impact statement later this year on PacifiCorp's application for a new license to operate the dams.

As part of the licensing process, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said it wants to see fish ladders built over all the dams and fish screens installed on the turbines so salmon can return to the upper Klamath Basin. In the past that would have been mandatory, but changes this year to federal energy law give PacifiCorp a chance to challenge it. An administrative law judge will hear the case starting Aug. 21.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; US: California; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: electricity; energy; environment; generation; klamath; klamathbasincrisis; pacificorp; salmon

1 posted on 08/03/2006 10:14:45 AM PDT by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/us/03fish.html?ref=business

Tribes Call for Removal of Dams That Block Journey of Salmon

(snip)

Craig Tucker, a spokesman for the Karuk tribe, which has about 3,400 members, said the tribes intended to put pressure on Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski of Oregon and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California to find ways to pay for removing the dams, providing power from other sources and restoring fish habitat along the river, which begins in southern Oregon and meets the Pacific Ocean in Northern California.

Mike Carrier, Mr. Kulongoski’s natural resources policy director, is to meet with tribal leaders on Thursday. Mr. Carrier said the governor favored positions of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, both of which say PacificCorp must provide some form of passage for salmon above the dams. The National Marine Fisheries Service specifically says dams should be removed to make that happen, Mr. Carrier said.

Removing the dams and restoring the river for fish would be enormously expensive, Mr. Carrier said, and would “really need significant federal support.” He said he knew of no reliable estimate of the costs. He said he did not view Mr. Fehrman’s comments on Wednesday as a breakthrough, “especially with the caveat of ‘as long as our customers are not harmed and our property rights are respected.’ In other words, don’t ask us to bear the costs.”


2 posted on 08/03/2006 10:15:45 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

Bump


3 posted on 08/03/2006 10:22:14 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Carry_Okie; SierraWasp; forester; Amerigomag; marsh2; tubebender; NormsRevenge; FOG724

Ping to above.

I think money for this (for California) is still buried in the infrastructure bonds (Prop 1E/AB 140), although the current version of the law stripped all of the detailed spending amounts that were included in prior versions (SB 74/AB134). The generic language remains: "restoration", "wildlife habitat improvement", etc.)


4 posted on 08/03/2006 10:30:16 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

This is so simple. All they have to do is, a)find out who wants the dams knocked down, where ever they are; b)determine the cost which should include possible flood damage and crop loss costs; c)shut off the electricity to the supporters of the dam demolition; d)divide A into B which would pay for this foolishment. This can work as the fools that are against the dams would have a lot of free $$ now that they wouldn`t have an electric bill.


5 posted on 08/03/2006 10:41:11 AM PDT by bybybill (`IF TH E RATS WIN, WE LOSE)
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To: bybybill
It seems to me that Pacificorp was looking for a payout from day one. Why else negotiate a 50-year license for a dam you have no intention of operating?
"We are not opposed to dam removal or other settlement opportunities as long as our customers are not harmed and our property rights are respected."

The company said the statement reflected its position all along in talks concerning a new 50-year license to operate the dams.


6 posted on 08/03/2006 10:51:35 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

Takes two to do a lease,maybe the landlord is only offering 50 years. Of course there is no money for this and ratepayers aren`t going to spring for it, so, really, all this is is talk. Does make the wackos in downtown Portland happy.


7 posted on 08/03/2006 10:57:24 AM PDT by bybybill (`IF TH E RATS WIN, WE LOSE)
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To: calcowgirl

I'm all for removing the dams - if the trade-off with the enviro-greenies is a new nuclear power plant.


8 posted on 08/03/2006 11:00:35 AM PDT by CATravelAgent (Unless you're the lead dog, the view is always the same)
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To: calcowgirl

Between the moslims and the Enviroweenies........I'm not sure who will get us back to the dark ages faster............


9 posted on 08/03/2006 11:09:58 AM PDT by newcthem (This is the final crusade, there are only two sides: pick one.(Brought to you by the Infidel Party))
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To: CATravelAgent
I'm all for removing the dams - if the trade-off with the enviro-greenies is a new nuclear power plant.

That works for me.
10 posted on 08/03/2006 11:19:45 AM PDT by goldfinch
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To: calcowgirl

The full cost of dam removal must include mitigation for lost tax revenue to the County for (1) the value of the dams, (2) the value of lake front private property for more than 1000 landowners; just compensation to those property owners for the loss of value in their property from having the lake drained and bass fishery destroyed; restoration of raw lake bottom to something aesthetically pleasing for the landowners who see it; arrangement for continued access for landowners to the river for recreation; mitigation for properties destroyed or impaired downriver of Iron Gate for raising river levels during certain tiles of the year by more than 4 feet - including several resorts; some sort of flood control mitigation and some sort of regulation of flows to protect recreational boaters, fishermen and miners from dangerous erratic flows; mitigation for the loss of premier white water rafting opportunities in the upper part above Copco; mitigation for any damage to fisheries from release of sediment onto spawning areas and lack of flow control. The estimates for full mitigation amount to well over a billion dollars.

The Klamath River tribes like to say it is only the cost of fish passage vs. actual removal of the dams. Nooooo, there is much more unless all the other parties are to get the shaft.

The question also remains where the stock to reseed the spring chinook and alleged upper Klamath salmon will come from. There were only 50 spring chinook that returned last year to the Salmon River. This is really not enough to reseed an entire system. It is also doubtfull that a race of chinook "still" exists in the system that could make it all the way from the ocean, through the Klamath lakes and into the Sprague and Williamson.

Is it all just a pipe dream - can we go back to the days of yore? Should we try smaller steps like fish passge first instead of ripping out all the plumbing?


11 posted on 08/03/2006 11:29:35 AM PDT by marsh2
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To: calcowgirl
If it isn't now, it will be.

It's the payoff.

12 posted on 08/03/2006 11:48:51 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: marsh2

Thanks for the reality check! I'm for keeping the plumbing. :-)


13 posted on 08/03/2006 11:56:55 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: Carry_Okie

Interesting that our buddy Buffet is on the receiving end.


14 posted on 08/03/2006 11:57:24 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

If I were the power company I would say, "get the government to give us the right to build, without interference and undue delay, a nuke power plant and we will take down these dams. The parties who want the dams taken down will stand the cost of any flood damage caused by removal of the dams and the cost of removing them".


15 posted on 08/03/2006 12:16:38 PM PDT by calex59 (The '86 amnesty put us in the toilet, now the senate wants to flush it!)
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To: calcowgirl; SierraWasp; marsh2; forester; Jeff Head; fish hawk
The Times-Standard verson from Humboldt County.

Flood control was mentioned by FReepers but what about all the sediment behind those dams. It will destroy salmon spanning beds for years in the lower Klamath...

16 posted on 08/03/2006 5:07:54 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: tubebender

That be salmon SPAWNING beds...you D/A


17 posted on 08/03/2006 5:09:41 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: tubebender

LOL. You really should talk nicer to yourself. :-)


18 posted on 08/03/2006 5:27:31 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl

You know, as a former power company engineer, I will tell you this - the ratepayers and taxpayers better buy some KY, if these dams are removed, because they are about to get gang #####.


19 posted on 08/03/2006 5:35:54 PM PDT by patton (LGOPs = head toward the noise, kill anyone not dressed like you.)
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To: CATravelAgent; calcowgirl

The type of "instant energy" for peak usage cannot be matched by a nuke plant when compared to a giant storage battery called a dam and reservoir!!!


20 posted on 08/03/2006 5:38:28 PM PDT by SierraWasp (How are you going to win their hearts and minds if they don't have any? (Rush Limbaugh))
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To: calex59; calcowgirl

Please refer to my Reply #20, above. Thanks.


21 posted on 08/03/2006 5:42:32 PM PDT by SierraWasp (How are you going to win their hearts and minds if they don't have any? (Rush Limbaugh))
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To: calcowgirl

And I think you are absolutely correct in that assumption!!! I just know you are!!! I just can't prove it...


22 posted on 08/03/2006 5:44:35 PM PDT by SierraWasp (How are you going to win their hearts and minds if they don't have any? (Rush Limbaugh))
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To: tubebender
...but what about all the sediment behind those dams. It will destroy salmon spanning beds for years in the lower Klamath...

Surely, the taxpayers wouldn't object to paying for a massive dredging project, coincident with the dams being taken down.

23 posted on 08/03/2006 5:58:52 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: tubebender
Thanks for the ping. I read this earlier today. I will be in your neighborhood for the month of Sept. Of course I can never catch you "in". LOL
24 posted on 08/03/2006 6:17:04 PM PDT by fish hawk (Terror : in a cave in Afghanistan. Treason: in a cave-in , in the Democratic Party)
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To: fish hawk
We went on a Indian Financial dig today at the Golden Bear Casino at Klamath. All the big nuggets were already gone...
25 posted on 08/03/2006 6:23:52 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: tubebender
Didn't know that place was opened again. Not too fancy compared to Trinidad and Crescent City. But they will take your money. Hee hee
26 posted on 08/03/2006 6:28:01 PM PDT by fish hawk (Terror : in a cave in Afghanistan. Treason: in a cave-in , in the Democratic Party)
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To: patton
... the ratepayers and taxpayers better buy some KY, if these dams are removed...

Or pitchforks. ;-)

27 posted on 08/03/2006 6:41:10 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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