[env-trinity] Klamath Water Quality Put on Hold by State Water Board

Allie Hostler ahostler at hoopa-nsn.gov
Thu Oct 14 15:28:56 PDT 2010





October 14, 2010



Contact: Allie Hostler, HVT Fisheries, (530)625-4267 x12


Why is the California Water Board risking the State's water to protect an
Oregon Utility?

Klamath Water Quality Still in Peril


Last week, the State Water Resources Control Board granted PacifiCorp's
request to suspend the Section 401 Water Quality Certification process until
May 17, 2011, a whole year beyond target dates set forth in the Klamath
Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) negotiated in February. 


"PacifiCorp will keep stalling and avoid taking responsibility for the water
quality disaster on the Klamath River as long as the State allows. The River
needs help NOW," Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman, Leonard Masten said.


California's Section 401 Water Quality certification process is the final,
required step in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC)
relicensing process. PacifiCorp's license to operate the Klamath
Hydroelectric Project expired in 2006. California was amidst the Section 401
Water Quality Certification process, as required by the Clean Water Act,
when the Bush administration in 2008 announced an Agreement between
PacifiCorp, California, Oregon and the Federal Government to look into
potential dam removal. A year later, in 2009, the Obama administration
signed on to the document.


"The Agreement in Principle brought the Section 401 Water Quality
Certification process to a dead stop in 2008," Masten said. The clock is
still ticking, and not in favor of Klamath River salmon that Indians and
non-Indians depend on as a subsistence, cultural and economic resource.


The KHSA and companion settlement, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement
(KBRA) require federal legislation to be in enacted. The KHSA calls for
legislation to be introduced by May 18, 2010. That deadline has come and
gone. The Hoopa Tribe believes the $1.5 billion price tag and ongoing
disagreements about the KBRA in the basin have stalled its introduction.


Water Board Chairman, Charles Hoppin cited a lack of state money to complete
the 401 certification process as a reason the Board granted another delay.
Vice Chair, Frances Spivy-Weber expressed concerns that the Water Board is
not putting PacifiCorp's "feet to the fire." She said, "Sooner or later
we'll have get past the abeyance issue. This issue is no closer to being
solved today than it was years ago."


The Hoopa Tribe sees water quality on the Klamath as an issue that needs
immediate attention to avoid another fish kill, like in 2002, when over
68,000 adult Chinook salmon died in warm, shallow, disease ridden waters in
the Klamath River. Action to improve the water quality is long overdue. Even
if the Klamath Settlements move through Congress, dam removal would not
occur until 2020. In the meantime, toxic blue green algae and other
contaminants run rampant in the river.


"The State Water Board has granted a series of such delays," Masten said.
"The resolution they adopted last week will cause the abeyance to lift if
federal legislation is not enacted by May 17, 2011, a whole year after the
proposed timeline in the KHSA and KBRA settlements. They have, in essence,
given PacifiCorp, and themselves, more time to do nothing."



Helpful Links:


To read the State Water Resources Control Board's discussion and resolution
click here


To read the November 14, 2008 Agreement in Principle, news release, and
correspondence between the Secretary of Interior and PacifiCorp, click here



To access the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and the Klamath
Basin Restoration Agreement click here



To read more about the Hoopa Valley Tribe's position on the Klamath
Settlements click here <http://www.hoopafisheries.org/3336.html> 




Allie Hostler

Communications Coordinator, HVT Fisheries

P.O. Box 417

Hoopa, CA 95546

(530)625-4267 x12

(530)739-2323 cell



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