[env-trinity] FW: List server info response to WSJ opinion piece
jallen at trinitycounty.org
Fri Jun 1 14:27:56 PDT 2007
Please post to the list server.
CalTrout and International Rivers Network response to WSJ opinion piece
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
Thomas J. Weseloh
Northcoast Manager, California Trout
1976 Archer Rd.
McKinleyville, CA 95519
707 839-1056 phone
707 839-1054 fax
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