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Pacific Power has a big dilemma - what will they choose?
Dams to come down?

* Pacific Power has been given a choice: pay $300 million for fish ladders on their Klamath River dams or consider the other options - which could mean the dams come out

By Daniel Webster
Pioneer Press Publisher
Fort Jones, CA
February 7, 2007

STATE OF JEFFERSON - Last week, the federal Interior and Commerce Department issued an order to Pacific Power that if it is to receive its license renewal to continue using the dams along the Klamath River for power production it must install fish ladders - at a whopping cost of $300 to $470 million.

The four dams in question produce electricity for 70,000 customers and the power is worth $29 million a year.

Advocates of dam removal - such as the Karuk Tribe - suggest that dam removal is much more cost effective than constructing fish ladders. Anti-dam proponents, such as the Karuk Tribe, suggest the cost savings of dam removal over fish ladders is between $101 to $285 million.

By virtue of the cost, dam removal advocates are expecting Warren Buffet's Pacific Power to rip out the dams.

Dave Kvamme, the spokesperson for Pacific Power, told the Pioneer Press that a complete engineering study has yet to be done taking into account all factors of the dam removal process, including the costs and economic impact of dam removal.

It is his belief that those who advocate dam removal have artificially projected a cost which is much lower than reality, to serve their cause.

As the debate heats up over the State of Jefferson's most important river, the eyes of the nation are being turned to our neck of the woods.

"This would represent the largest and most ambitious dam removal project in the country, if not the world," Steve Rothert of the environmental group American Rivers told the Los Angeles Times.

"The Klamath is a degraded system, but it is uniquely restorable," David Diamond, an analyst with the Interior Department, told the Washington Post. "These dams are the only barriers to fish passage from the headwaters to the Pacific. The watershed is 80 percent under federal ownership and it doesn't have major cities or other development that prevents the return of healthy salmon runs."

"We applaud the Departments of Commerce and Interior for fulfilling their obligation to protect and restore the Klamath River," Leaf Hillman, vice chairman of the Karuk Tribe, stated in a news release. "Now it's time for PacifiCorp President Bill Fehrman to make good on his commitment to protect his ratepayers from higher costs and simply remove these fish killing dams."

Pacific Power is still in the settlement process with the various parties involved.

According to Kvamme, there are two processes at work right now, the federal licensing process and the settlement process.



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