"Today, four American Indian tribes, nine environmental groups, farm groups and a host of local, state and federal agencies are working hard on a settlement to prevent disasters like the ones we saw in 2001 and 2002 from happening again.
So far, the Bush administration is doing its part to support us. In January, the administration's wildlife agencies mandated the strongest fishway prescriptions within their legal authority. The result is a dam project that is so expensive to relicense that the removal of four large dams makes economic sense. The administration's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries experts went so far as to recommend dam removal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the ultimate referee in the proceeding.
For its part, PacifiCorp remains defiant. The company seems more interested in gouging its own ratepayers than in making a responsible and sound business decision. That is to say that instead of working to ensure ratepayers get the cheapest out - dam removal - the utility would rather stick them with the excessive cost of bringing these outdated dams into compliance with modern environmental laws. Even installing ladders would do little to aid salmon recovery, because the degradation of water quality caused by the dams would remain. However, with at least a year left in the relicensing process, there's still time for PacifiCorp to act responsibly and stop exploiting Native Americans, farmers and its own customers.
For our part, we plan to continue to work with our neighbors in the basin and on the coast on real solutions to the ongoing Klamath crisis. It has not been easy. There is a bitter history of conflict to overcome. But we believe that we can have a Klamath Basin where farmers can farm, fishermen can fish and Indians can practice their traditions and culture."
Get the Story:
S. Craig Tucker and Leaf Hillman: Klamath dams should be removed
(The Eugene Register-Guard 7/10)
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