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PacifiCorp Sale Upsets Tribes

May 27, 2005 Klamath Falls Herald and News by Lee Juillerat


A group of Klamath Basin Indian tribes issued a statement Thursday saying they were surprised when they learned about ScottishPower’s sale of PacifiCorp to billionaire investor Warren Buffett.


The tribes, along with allies in the fishing industry and environmental community, have been urging PacifiCorp to remove Klamath River dams to restore salmon runs.


The Klamath River was once the nation’s third most productive salmon river, returning up to 1.2 million adult salmon annually.  After nearly a century of dam building, diversions and logging, only a tenth of that number return, according to the tribe’s statement.


The PacifiCorp-owned Klamath hydropower complex is undergoing relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will decide on terms of a new operational license next year.


Troy Fletcher, a spokesman for the Yurok Tribe, said the relicensing creates a rate opportunity to fix the problems created by the dams.


“We won’t get another chance like this for 50 years,” Fletcher said.  “By then, there may not be any salmon left to fight over.”


Last year, representatives from four Klamath basin tribes, including the Chiloquin-based Klamath Tribes, traveled to Scotland to protest at ScottishPower’s annual shareholder meeting and met with CEO Ian Russell.


“We will continue to fight for the salmon as long (as) they are threatened.  It won’t matter who owns the dams,” said Ron Reed, a Karuk fisherman.


The tribes said they plan to contact Berkshire Inc., the company controlled by Buffett.


“We don’t know if Mr. Buffett cares about salmon or native tribes, but we plan to find out soon,” Karuk vice chairman Leaf Hilllman said.  “We are also asking ScottishPower shareholders to do everything they can to block the sale of the company until the Klamath issue is resolved.  At the same time, we need to let investors in Berkshire know what they’re getting into.”





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