[env-trinity] Klamath Water Quality Put on Hold by State Water Board
FISH1IFR at aol.com
Fri Oct 15 13:25:50 PDT 2010
ALL..... While I have great respect for the Hoopa Valley Tribe,
unfortunately the fundamental premise of this Press Release is deeply flawed.
The 401 Certification process which has been stayed is to APPROVE 4-DAM
FERC RELICENSING, and not to "clean up the river in the interim." Why should
anyone be pushing to remove the final barrier between PacifiCorp and
40-year FERC relicensing? Especially since, under the Klamath Hydroelectric
Settlement Agreement (KHSA) it is dam REMOVAL, not relicensing, that is the
preferred alternative that we are all now working toward achieving.
We and other Parties to the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA)
supported staying the current 401 Certification Application as merely a way
to halt the run to full and final FERC relicensing while dam removal is
being given serious consideration. Dave removal will need its own 401
Certification process down the road -- BUT THIS IS NOT IT.
As to cleaning up the river between now and the projected dam removal
target date of 2020, there are numerous "Interim Measures" in the KHSA which
will help to do that, or at least to minimize water quality impacts as best as
can be done short of dam removal, which will of course do much more.
PacifiCorp is pledged under the KHSA to paying several million dollars toward
those "Interim Measures." Also, with the new approved Klamath Mainstem
TMDLs in place, PacifiCorp must also work out a TMDL Implementation Plan to
meet its TMDL obligations in the interim until dam removal in 2020.
Some have pushed for completing the FERC Relicensing 401 Certification
Process in the hopes that the State Water Board (and the Oregon equivalent, the
Environmental Quality Commission (EQC)) will simply DENY the permit,
putting PacifiCorp in a position where it will eventually have to remove the
dams. This ignores the fact that under the KHSA the dams will come down
anyway, and sooner. It also takes a HUGE RISK that the California State Water
Board (and EQC) will issue a Permit with mitigation measures that
PacifiCorp could meet, or that their denial will fall to a later Court challenge
with several years of litigation under the current status quo. It also takes
a huge risk that PacifiCorp would be able to relicense the dams, or at
least J.C. Boyles dam in Oregon. J.C. Boyles is by far the most valuable dam
for power production of the four, and has the least water quality impacts,
and is in OREGON where the pollution control laws are much less stringent
than in California and in which there is much less likelihood that a 401
Certification denial would be upheld by the Courts.
In other words, if push comes to shove and the KHSA dissolves, forcing
PacifiCorp back to regular FERC relicensing, it is most likely -- in my
estimation and that of many others with more expertise in these matters -- that
at least one dam (J.C.Boyle) will get a new 40-year FERC license, the
opportunity to restore a free-flowing KIamath River will be missed, and both the
salmon and the river will not see another such a chance at restoration until
at least the year 2052.
Thus the efforts should be put towards fully implementing the KHSA, not
pushing for a 401 Certification process that leads only toward FERC
relicensing. And that is what the Water Board also decided.
Glen H. Spain, NW Regional Director
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA)
PO Box 11170, Eugene, OR 97440-3370
Phone: (541)689-2000 Fax: (541)689-2500
Web: _www.pcffa.org_ (http://www.pcffa.org/) Email: fish1ifr at aol.com
In a message dated 10/15/2010 7:52:52 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
ahostler at hoopa-nsn.gov writes:
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
HOOPA VALLEY TRIBAL FISHERIES
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
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.”
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)
Communications Coordinator, HVT Fisheries
P.O. Box 417
Hoopa, CA 95546
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