will decide dam removal, not Klamath River Compact Commission
note: "The JC Boyle Dam in Klamath County, Oregon, is one
of four slated to be removed from the Klamath River under a
Memorandum of Understanding between the Klamath County
Commission and the Klamath River Renewal Corp.")
Various parties have recently claimed that the Klamath River
Compact Commission has authority over the proposal to remove
four dams in the Klamath Hydroelectric Project.
They argue that
the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) is
illegal because it does not petition for the consent of the
while creative, is wrong. The Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (or FERC) will decide whether the proposed dam
removal is in the public interest.
Commission has certain authorities under the 1957 Klamath
River Compact. It must approve the siting of a facility to
store and convey water from one state to the other. It must
approve any related effort by one state to acquire land in
the other. And it may resolve water quality disputes between
the states. But it does not have authority to regulate
Energy Regulatory Commission licensed the Klamath
Hydroelectric Project in 1954. When the term of that license
was about to expire in 2004, the current licensee
(PacifiCorp) applied to FERC to renew it.
Later in 2016,
PacifiCorp and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation jointly
applied to FERC to transfer the license to the KRRC for the
purpose of dam removal under the KHSA’s terms. Over the
course of the past 60 years, the Compact Commission has
never asserted authority over the project.
reason. The 1935 Federal Power Act established a
comprehensive program for hydropower development in our
nation. FERC administers that program, regulating more than
1,000 hydropower projects to advance the public interest in
power, flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife, and
other beneficial uses.
FERC is not
subject to the consent of interstate compact commissions
(and there are more than 200 of them across the nation) to
make these licensing decisions.
Supreme Court has repeatedly decided that Congress meant
exactly what it said in authorizing one federal agency,
FERC, to assure that hydropower advances the public interest
in our nation’s rivers.
started the hearings on the license transfer and surrender
applications to implement the KHSA. All interested
stakeholders are being heard. Indeed, the very stakeholders
who argue that the Compact Commission controls the fate of
this project are also before FERC, advancing other
consider all arguments, and facts, as it moves forward to
decide whether the proposed dam removal advances the public
KRRC is actively working with diverse stakeholders on local
hiring, future recreational facilities, and other measures
to assure that the project improves the economy and
ecosystem of the Klamath Basin.
KRRC General Counsel
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