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Klamath in the Balance

VIDEO: Klamath in the Balance

Forum to discuss dam removal process on Klamath River
October 19, 2011
Wharfinger Building in Eureka, California

This meeting was in Eureka, California. The city of Eureka is 200 miles from the Klamath River Dams and the communities dependant on them. The stated purpose was to bring all the conflicting Indian Tribes and environmental groups together with the common goal of destroying the Klamath River Dams. The argument was about the best way to get rid of dams, agriculture, and turn the Klamath Project into a marsh. It was to discuss the best strategy in accomplishing their goal.

KBC News editor took quotes from throughout the 2 1/2 hour video, and also paraphrased. We encourage to watch the entire interaction with the Klamath Dam destruction advocates. It explains their goals and their strategies.

Part of the spin to get the farmers to agree to the KBRA was Keno Dam would not be destroyed with the other Klamath River hydro dams. Initially irrigators were told they would have water certainty, exemptions from the ESA/Endangered Species Act and Biological Opinions. Water from Keno Dam supplies most of the Klamath Project irrigation. It was pointed out in the video that the KBRA includes adherence and support of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Biological Opinions, and several other national mandates and regulations which will control the water in spite of the promises that Klamath Irrigators think they will have.

Some speakers are Dave Bitts from Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen, a voting organization in the KBRA negotiations, Andrew Orahoske from Environmental Protection Information Center, Bob Hunter of Waterwatch, and fisheries biologist Pat Higgins. Some of the others environmental activists are Craig Tucker, Felice Pace.

Craig Tucker, Karuk Spokesman and negotiator for the Karuk Tribe: "Craig Tucker received his B.S. in biochemistry from Clemson University in 1993. He went on to get a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1999. After graduate school he gave up laboratory science for a career as an environmental and social justice activist. In 2000 Craig joined Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. While in Green Corp, Craig learned fundamental grassroots organizing skills. After Green Corps he worked as Outreach Director at Friends of the River, developing grassroots campaigns on a variety of California water issues. Each campaign was based on the connection between sustainable environmental policy and social justice. Currently Craig is the Campaign Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe's 'Bring the Salmon Home' campaign. The goal: removal of four dams on the Klamath River which would represent the largest dam removal project in history."
     Tucker is a voting participant in the KBRA / Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. He was on the steering committee of Klamath Riverkeeper before it spun off from umbrella group Klamath Forest Alliance, and hes presently on the board. Here for KBC News Craig Tucker Page

1:07:15 - Fisheries Biologist Pat Higgins feels that the KBRA is inadequate because does not specify destroying the Keno Dam.  "Keno Reservoir will continue to be overloaded with nutrients and to experience anoxia annually during summer and early fall. Salmon will not be able to migrate through Keno Reservoir even after dam (excluding Keno Dam) removal."

KBC NOTE: the KBRA dam removal will destroy Klamath River fish hatcheries which provide missions of baby fish. With no fish, there will be no way to trap and haul fish into the upper basin around the Keno Dam.

1:37:39: Craig Tucker explains how he organized a group of dam removal activists to go to Scotland three times when Scottish Power owned the Klamath River Dams. Scottish Power sold the dams to Berkshire Hathaway, and the tribes and environmental activists went to their meetings to convince them to destroy the dams. These hydro dams provide green, inexpensive power to 70,000 households.

Tucker: "We decided that what we had to do if we wanted the dams out...FERC has never successfully ordered a dam removal, ever...every dam that's been removed in the United States has been the result of a negotiated settlement agreement between the dam owners and stakeholders in the river basin. We knew that was the course to dam removal...We knew this it was going to have to at some point this be a bipartisan effort. So indeed, we worked with the Klamath Project irrigators, the enemies of the tribes since those guys showed up; we did work out a water sharing agreement. 1:38:27

1:38:50 - "We did not solve all the problems in the Klamath Basin with these agreements. We did not get rid of all the farmers, we did not rebuild all the wetlands. But we do pull off the biggest dam removal in the history of the world as far as I know and I think it's the biggest basin wide restoration effort in the history of the world.

1:39:20 - ...Gettin stuff through Congress ain't easy. We need you guys to help us move the ball...1:39:43  and if we're still gonna deal with water quality issues at Keno, at the end of the day, I can guarantee the Karuk Tribe and Craig Tucker will be in the front seat dealing with that next."

1:45:20 Dave Bitts, President of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen, and party to KBRA and KHSA agreements. 1:48:43 - "the KBRA offers substantially more water for fish in most years than status quo on the order of 100,000 acre feet of water per year more. There is a reason that came from the negotiations why there are not minimum flows guaranteed in the KBRA. A different path was taken to get to the same result without specifically saying 'guaranteed minimum flows' because those words were a deal breaker...KBRA....explicitly says it does not supersede any existing law such as the Endangered Species Act, or the Clean Water Act, or any biological opinion...Another reason you might not want to support it is, the KBRA can not create water in years of severe drought...there are some years when there just isn't enough water. Fish have lived with it for thousands of years; we're going to have to live with it too."



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