Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Letter from 3rd
Generation Hornbrook, CA rancher Rex Cozzalio near Iron Gate Dam
to FERC / Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Dear Commissioner Glick and FERC Staff,
Congratulations! As predicted in my recent unacknowledged and most likely unread submission, you have held tight to policy-directed blinders in imposing unaccountable special interest devastation upon the Klamath Region, nullifying literal lifetimes of experience and knowledgeable sacrifice ENHANCING the ‘naturally occurring’ Klamath environment, INCLUDING fisheries. By purposefully REFUSING to recognize the past DECADE of Klamath specifically applicable empirical studies REFUTING special interest ‘modeled’ destruction ‘benefits’, along with the submitted testimonies and historical documentation of the supermajorities living IN the Project region officially voting AGAINST Project destruction, you have subjugated those residents to the subjective ‘determinations’ of a single purpose biased, funding limited, handful of unaccountable and largely unaffected special interests regarding a vested ‘quasi-PUBLIC’ resource. Under your ‘approved’ fabricated ‘Plan’, intentionally EXCLUDING those area-affected ‘environmental justice’ compromised supermajorities, the scenario is set that those unrepresented in opposition suffer virtually ALL the burdens of loss and cost, while the scripting ‘Signatories’ financially and politically benefit REGARDLESS of environmental outcome.
It is fascinating that not only did you ‘approve’ your predetermined ‘findings’ as written by your directed Staff, your Orders frequently ‘after the fact’ ALTER and further effectively LIMIT indefinite ‘Definite Plan’ KRRC/KHSA required ‘mitigations’ in anticipation of what the Commission NOW obviously realizes WILL be massive impacts and ‘unrealized expectations’.
Of the well over 500 often peer reviewed references submitted to FERC, NONE of which were ever acknowledged in the FERC EIS reference list, just ONE is attached here with the foolish hope that ONE study on the previous ‘largest’ Elwha Dams destruction would not be too overwhelming to actually read for content. Even within their ‘study-specific’ limited subset of the massive and PERMANENT damages in a region FAR more conducive to ‘recovery’ than the Klamath, authors describe not only unanticipated extirpations and devastation to ecosystems, but the ‘modeled’ failure of ‘expected benefit’ for the SINGLE PURPOSE anadromous fishery objective for which unaccountable destruction was ‘justified’. That peer reviewed empirical study, DESPITE being the product of funding to ‘support’ agenda rewilding, acknowledges multiple extirpations and PERMANENT damages from Project destruction which could not be MORE DIRECTLY APPLICABLE to the MUCH LARGER and LESS conducive to ‘restoration’ KLAMATH. Authors even ACKNOWEDGE expected damages in the study itself, thereby ‘anticipating’ their own paid major ‘revision’ of their environmental modeling to bring it ‘closer’ to ACTUAL ‘monitored’ Klamath devastation for use in ‘future’ planned agenda imposed destruction, along with their recommendation for ‘reduced expectations’ and an altered future rhetoric narrative that admits PERMANENT damages that FERC continues to claim will ‘flush away in months’ on the Klamath. WHERE is that study addressed in the FERC Staff scripted EIS, or the hundreds of others previously referenced, studies directly REFUTING the Staff ‘believed benefit conclusions’ intended to ‘support’ the Commission’s political ‘determination’?
As an Intervener and one of those personally harmed living at the ‘focal point’ of Project destruction impacts, to which FERC’s primary ‘adequate mitigation’ rests upon ‘ordering’ signage ‘informing’ impacted residents of but a few of the damages and losses that will devastate lives and futures, it has become clear that FERC is only interested in securing Project destruction regardless of inequities or consequence. It’s all good though, as FERC ALSO mandated ONE ‘public outreach’ to notify those impacted of their ‘option’ to subjugate themselves to the essentially arbitrary whims, conditions, and ‘determination’ of a biased Licensee having an inescapable conflict-of-interest and a FERC ‘approved plan’ to financially bury those harmed in protracted court challenge using already inadequate public funds. With the limitations, exclusions, and ‘options’ CREATED for that Licensee by FERC regarding ‘mitigations’ for those certain and potential damages, the likelihood of ANY significant or equitable ‘reparations’, not to mention substantive environmental mitigations, become virtually NIL, pitting inevitable conflicts between harmed taxpayers and the unlimited taxpayer funds ‘defending’ a conflict-of-interest challenged California Governor and the rest of his protected ‘Agreement Signatories’. That inherent imposed inequity is even MORE interesting when that demographic being harmed includes SEVERAL of those FERC identified ‘environmental justice’ compromised disproportionally harmed groups which FERC somehow then selectively manages to forget.
Despite FERC assurance that inequity will not occur due to FERC’s empty ‘request’ that non-resident licensees should be ‘good neighbors’ to those regionally impacted, that pending inequity was poignantly evidenced in the 12/8/22 ‘public media celebration’ of destruction approval held at Iron Gate by ‘Agreement Signatories’ that included the facilitating FEDERAL Department of Interior Secretary. Flying in at taxpayer expense and delivered to the most productive hatchery that will cease to exist with the loss of adjacent deep lake cold water, via massive black Suburbans with tinted windows to a specially erected 200 seat tent hypocritically using electricity for heat produced by the adjacent dam targeted for destruction, that ‘celebration’ of an ‘environmental agenda’ was pointedly concealed from the affected public until the day before, was by ‘invitation only’ from which even the regional representatives were EXCLUDED, allowed ONLY ‘conditionally-approved’ media, and left the mostly elderly RESIDENT affected ‘neighbors’ who found out at the last minute both literally and figuratively standing ‘OUT IN THE FRIGID COLD’, looking at the taxpayer funded festivities through LOCKED GATES ‘defended’ by armed guards! According to the ensuing ‘press releases’, those shivering affected residents in opposition standing for 4 hours OUTSIDE the locked gates apparently DID NOT EVEN EXIST.
These and countless OTHER inequities and contradictions presented to FERC THROUGHOUT the ‘process’ have seemingly fallen on deaf ears, receiving NO acknowledgement or response beyond subsequent surprisingly ‘unexplained’ sudden revisions further limiting any obligations for related ‘mitigation requirements’.
Adding insult to injury, in carrying out the Special Interest biased environmental agenda for which FERC has neither legislated intent nor expertise to facilitate, FERC then carries on at great length that the Special Interests fall under FERC’s protection providing FEDERAL PREEMPTION of local and State laws. As that ‘preemption’ places the Federal government as the ONLY remaining ‘responsible party’, it is inescapable that FERC has made this a FEDERAL PROJECT. That premise is ALSO supported by the FACT that Project resources and responsibilities are being TRANSFERRED to the Bureau of Reclamation. As a Federal Project, the FERC ‘decision’ REQUIRES legislative approval, and FERC and ‘Signatories’ alternately claiming it is a ‘private company agreement’ and therefore ‘exempted’ from such Congressional approval is hypocritically ludicrous.
If THAT weren’t ‘enough’, the Governors of Oregon and California, in signing the MOA, created by its VERY NAME an ‘Agreement’ between the States! Whether ‘legal’ or not, as NEITHER had State Legislative approval, it is NONETHELESS an AGREEMENT involving mutual responsibility as Co-Licensees for additional payments and mutual performance of the ‘Amended’ KHSA terms. The Compact Clause (Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3) provides that “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ... enter into Any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power”. WHERE is that Congressional approval??? It seems that in a policy-directed frenzy, rather than attempting to conservatively interpret Agency requirements to assure equity in the ‘best public interest’, FERC instead has bent over backwards to stretch and massage their ‘interpretations’ of authority to the furthest extremes in order to ‘justify’ forcibly imposing unaccountable destruction.
To assure equity and confidence in the ‘best public interest’, as an intervener, I would request that FERC submit the ‘Definite Plan’, the EIS, and the Surrender Order to Congress for legislative approval.
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