[env-trinity] Eureka Times-Standard July 1 2009
bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Jul 1 12:37:40 PDT 2009
Klamath restoration negotiations delayed
By Donna Tam
Dam removal negotiators were unable to come to an agreement Tuesday, missing
the deadline set for finalizing a plan to remove four aging dams on the
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Tuesday that an agreement is
"within reach" and should be completed by the end of summer, according to a
press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Negotiators from Oregon, California, the U.S. Department of Interior, and
the utility company PacifiCorp, had tentatively agreed to a dam removal deal
in November 2008, with a deadline for a finalized agreement set for Tuesday.
The efforts aim to rebuild the Klamath fishery and sustain agricultural
communities who rely on the Klamath River. All parties have agreed to extend
the deadline for a final agreement on the future of the Klamath
Hydroelectric Project to September 2009. The tentative agreement from last
year has since been joined by 22 other stakeholders.
Under the proposed agreements, the Department of the Interior and its
agencies -- including the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and U.S.
Geological Survey -- would be joined by the National Marine Fisheries
Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and state and local agencies to implement
"I am pleased that the good faith efforts of the parties to reach common
ground in decades-old water conflicts have put a final deal within reach,"
Salazar said in the press release. "With one more push, and with the
continued personal engagement of Gov. Kulongoski, Gov. Schwarzenegger and
PacifiCorp President Greg Abel, we will have a final agreement by the end of
the summer. This final stretch represents an historic opportunity for all
parties to pursue their shared interests over the damaging water wars of the
The conservation organization Oregon Wild said since negotiations began, the
situation in the Upper Basin continues to worsen with harmful agricultural
Steve Pedery, the organization's conservation director, said the most recent
delay is proof that a new discussion process is needed or the river will
never be restored.
Oregon Wild said it is also concerned with the tentative dam removal
timeline. The November agreement called for dam removal to begin no sooner
than 2020 with a feasibility study to be conducted before a 2012 deadline.
Since independent studies regarding economic and ecological rationale behind
dam removal have already been done, Oregon Wild said the additional study
and delayed discussion is "worrisome."
"It is time to hold PacifiCorp accountable instead of letting them pull the
strings while everyone holds their breath for six years," Pedery said in a
press release. "If I had a dollar for every time I've heard backers of this
deal say that a final agreement is 'right around the corner,' I'd have
enough money to pay for dam removal myself."
According to the DOI press release, Kulongoski and Schwarzenegger said they
are satisfied with the discussions and optimistic that they will come to an
end by summer.
A PacifiCorp spokesman said the organization would not comment further on
In the press release, CEO Greg Abel of PacifiCorp asked for patience as the
groups work through a complex process.
"The passionate environmental and economic perspectives and diverse cultural
heritage that embody the Klamath Basin present an immense challenge to
reaching reasonable peace and compromise," he said. "We remain committed to
achieving the best possible balanced and pragmatic outcome for our customers
on all sides of these diverse issues."
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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