[env-trinity] CalTrout and International Rivers Network Comments on WSJ Op-Ed

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 1 13:02:25 PDT 2007

June 1, 2007


Shikha Dalmia's commentary (Dam the Salmon, May 30, 2007) grossly
mischaracterizes two complex issues-the global warming impact of hydropower
reservoirs and the restoration of the Klamath River.


Ms. Dalmia seems to think that reservoirs do not release greenhouse gases.
This is quite wrong. Because of the rotting of flooded organic matter, dams
worldwide are an important source of global warming pollution - according to
the latest research causing 4-5% of the total human impact on our climate. 


No measurements have been made of gases released from the Klamath. Yet the
water quality in the reservoirs is extremely poor - usually an indicator of
elevated emissions, especially of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Hence
the greenhouse gas pollution from hydropower production on the Klamath may
be significant.


The Klamath dams have been analyzed in depth over the past 7 years as the
five-dam project owned by Warren Buffet's PacifiCorp is under Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission review for a new hydropower license. This analysis has
uncovered a project that is economically shaky, provides a small fraction of
PacifiCorp's hydroelectric power, and contributes to water quality problems
that are a threat to human health.   The Klamath dams have all but
extinguished tribal rights to fish for salmon and collapsed the commercial
salmon fishing industry along 700 miles of coastal Oregon and California. 


As the California Energy Commission notes, the retirement of inefficient
generation facilities with high environmental impacts is a standard feature
of the power generation industry.  The small capacity of the Klamath River
hydroelectric project---160 MW capacity but low flows mean that it operates
at only half of this potential---results in meager power benefits that are
outweighed by the far reaching economic, social and environmental costs of
the dams


A large contingent of tribes, federal, state and local government agencies,
environmental groups and local farmers are working to address the many
issues surrounding the removal of dams on the Klamath River.  This
roll-up-your sleeves approach to solving complex resource issues is the hope
for the future in addressing climate change, large scale restoration
projects, and especially the situation in the Klamath Basin. 


Brian Stranko, Executive Director, California Trout

Patrick McCully, Executive Director, International Rivers Network


California Trout has been involved in the Klamath River dams relicensing
negotiations since 2000.  www.caltrout.org

International Rivers Network has published several reports on greenhouse gas
emissions from dams and reservoirs. www.irn.org



Byron Leydecker

Friends of Trinity River, Chair

California Trout, Inc., Advisor

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 

415 519 4810 cell

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org






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