Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Dam Demolition places "...the
ENTIRE burden of public/private loss, cost, and environmental
devastation upon the most affected unrepresented ratepayers,
taxpayers, and regional residents…”
Followed by: Where Our Energy Comes From: Klamath River, by Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB)
Rex Cozzalio Commentary:
seen in this 'CUB' repeated or constructed version of 'truth',
we continue to see benefitting Executive directed Agencies and
profiting agenda proponents constantly 'adaptively managing' and
'solidifying' regional 'history' through unsupported media
repetition. Statements attributing the Klamath Project to
'dwindling salmon'; claimed destruction 'benefits' to
ratepayers/taxpayers/residents; and purported 'regionally
supported agreements' fly in the face of regional experience,
historical documentation, return statistics, and regionally
applied empirical studies. Minor annoyances of actual facts
apparently present little concern in CUB's self-promoting
rhetoric regarding such things as the most knowledgeable and
affected Counties encompassing 100% of the Project and over 75%
of the ENTIRE Klamath watershed officially voting in
SUPERMAJORITY AGAINST Project destruction; actual statistics and
historical documentation which CONTRADICTS claimed 'detrimental'
impacts attributed to the Project; and the last DECADE of peer
reviewed empirical studies expressly ignored (by them) directly
REFUTING the prior agenda-created 'modeled science' claimed
'benefits of destruction'. Easy to do when the benefitting
special interest entities orchestrating this destruction
specifically bear NO personal consequence for the losses and
damages they are forcibly imposing upon the environment and
residents, instead 'agreeing' to place the ENTIRE burden of
public/private loss, cost, and environmental devastation upon
the most affected unrepresented ratepayers, taxpayers, and
Where Our Energy
Comes From: Klamath River,
Posted on November 19, 2021 by Will Gehrke
Where does our energy come from? Here at CUB, much of our work is predicated on the belief that shedding light on this question for utility customers is good for their interests. Most readers are probably aware that a large portion of the power generated in the Pacific Northwest is from hydroelectric sources. If you are a customer of Pacific Power, you might be surprised to learn that some of your electricity comes from hydroelectric power stations on the Klamath River.
The Klamath River is a 257-mile river that flows southwest from Klamath Falls, Oregon through the Cascade and Klamath Mountains and the Yurok Reservation on the Pacific coast. It has an extensive watershed of 16,000 square miles, stretching from Southern Oregon to Northern California. The Klamath River is a major recreation area and a source of irrigation water for both states.
The Klamath River has several major tributaries such as the Williamson, Sprague, Lost, and Shasta rivers. In the early 20th century (1910 to 1925), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started the Klamath Basin water management project to develop farmland and supply irrigation water to the region’s farmers. In total, seven dams on tributaries of the Klamath and hundreds of miles of canals were created to develop farmland in California and Oregon.
Separate from these federal irrigation dams, Pacific Power owns and operates seven hydroelectric projects on the Klamath. The dams provide enough power to supply the energy needs of 70,000 households. They were built by the California Oregon Power Company, a predecessor to Pacific Power, that served Southern Oregon and Northern California. The Fall Creek dam is located on a tributary, while the rest of Pacific Power’s facilities are located directly on the Klamath.
There has been considerable opposition to the Klamath River hydro dams, including from environmental activists and Indigenous American tribes. The dams have been very harmful to salmon and steelhead runs on the river. Iron Gate, the lowest Pacific Power dam on the river, has no fish passage equipment and acts as an insurmountable barrier to fish passage. Before the Pacific Power and Klamath Basin water management projects, the Klamath was an extremely productive fishery for chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout. The spring chinook run on the Klamath has dwindled to an estimated 2 percent of its historic volume.
In 2010, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement was signed by California, Oregon, local counties, local tribes, fish activists, and Pacific Power. The restoration agreement allowed for four of Pacific Power’s hydroelectric dams to be breached for increased fish passage. See this blog for more information about the Klamath River dam removal. CUB participated in the regulatory process that resulted from that agreement. It was found that demolishing the dams would be both less costly and less risky than installing fish passage equipment.
Instead of having Pacific Power’s customers bear the risk of increased decommissioning costs for the four dams, demolition is being handled by a third party, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. Normally, when a power plant is demolished, customers of the power plant bear the cost of decommissioning it. If the cost is higher than expected, customers fund that additional cost. In the case of the Klamath power plants, the states of California and Oregon are bearing the risk of decommissioning cost increases through the guarantee of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.
The corporation is being funded in part by customers of Pacific Power in Oregon ($200 million). Fortunately, though, financing will also be provided by California water bonds, which will save customers an additional $250 million in decommissioning costs. As of 2021, it was found that the Klamath River Renewal Corporation is adequately funded to demolish four of the Klamath River dams. Demolition is expected to proceed in 2024.
Therefore, while Oregon Pacific Power customers currently receive electricity from Klamath river dams, that will sunset in the next few years. CUB believes this outcome is in the best interest of Pacific Power’s customers and the Pacific region generally.
11/19/21 | 4 Comments | Where Our Energy Comes From: Klamath River
short sighted when you have such a large population of people
that will be affected from lack of water and energy. Extremely
taxpayers throughout California paying for $250 million in water
bonds to help demolish a dam constructed by a private power
company? Didn't Oregon Pacific Power's customers benefit for
decades by having lower cost electricity? Didn't this company
make huge profits from electricity produced by this dam and
others on the Klamath? The cost of this demolition should by
paid 100% by the power company and its customers.
times one of the underlying factors which separates the first
world from the third world is the enriching benefits of dams.
That’s probably why a prized war target is the enemy’s dams.
Ironically, we seem to be accomplishing this for our enemies
without their loss of blood and treasure
4.The underlying argument that dams caused the salmon decline is refuted in the historical records. John Fortune, in a 1966 study of the available historical records, indicates salmon decline in the Klamath River occurred before 1890.
I encourage everyone that disagrees to read well researched report at https://ifrmp.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Fortune-et-al_1966_0349_Feasibility-of-est-salmon-and-steelhead-in-upper-Klamath.pdf
evidence suggests the anadromous species were unable to move
upstream beyond a reef below Keno; the argument dam removal is
opening up hundreds of miles of habitat is not supported by the
written records, nor the archeological examination of fish bones
studying chemical elements within the bones to determine if they
were from an ocean fish.
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