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Response by Siskiyou County Water Users to KRRC article in Siskiyou Daily News regarding Denial by California Water Resources for Clean Water Permit for Klamath Dam Removal

October 9, 2019 

FOLLOWED BY: KRRC: Water certification denial won’t stop removal

{This is the response of SCWUA to an article that recently appeared in Siskiyou Daily News written by Jester based on an interview with Matt Cox of KRRC.  Their article dealt with the issue of the Denial by Cal Water Resources of a Permit for Clean Water requirements re dam removal.}

Recently the SDN and Mount Shasta News printed a lengthy front page article written by Danielle Jester based on an interview with spinmeister Matt Cox for the Klamath River Renewal Corporation in response to the State Water Resources Control Board, denial without prejudice of KRRC’s request for a very important 401 water quality certification for the Lower Klamath Project to remove four hydro- electric facilities on the Klamath River.  After a year of investigation and over 6,000 pages of Environmental Review and public testimony (2,500 comments) and numerous reports paid for by California’s taxpayers, KRRC essentially stated that it wasn’t important and that it had no impact on their proceeding forward with their efforts to transfer the hydro license with partial demolition of the hydro structures releasing millions of tons of sediment down river damaging the riverbeds and ultimately plugging up and destroying the estuary at the mouth of the Klamath.

In taking such action the Water Quality Board which is the lead agency for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is stating that KRRC has not met the stringent requirements imposed to protect the environment.  The Water Board therefore cannot certify the project without proper protection.  There are numerous items which have yet to be satisfactorily responded to in regards to the project.

Besides this issue the KRRC which was gifted more than Twenty-five Million Dollars by the California Natural Resources Agency as part of an eventual total of taxpayer dollars exceeding $250,000,000 (Bond Funds) much of which appears to have been spent in a creative and complex public relations effort, is a long ways from getting Federal Energy Resources Commission (FERC) approval.  An additional $200,000,000 will come from PacifiCorp ratepayers.  This shouldn’t be surprising as until 2016 the KRRC didn’t exist except as an idea hatched in a law firm in New York City.  If it wasn’t for the unusual gift of funds from the State of California, we wouldn’t be hearing from the KRRC.  Another issue for KRRC is that they were created to provide cover for the States of California, Oregon and PacifiCorp as well as numerous NGO organizations.  They were created to fill a need drafted into an apparently illegal agreement (the Amended KHSA) which would provide a path to non- responsibility on the part of the signers of the KHSA.  Non responsibility in the sense of passing all liability for damages, which will result from removal of the Hydro-electric facilities, to a thinly financed 501c3 corporation with no track record and no ongoing future.  PacifiCorp we understand would not enter into any transaction to remove the Hydro Facilities without having an escape from liability.

In addition to the above mentioned funds PacifiCorp received accelerated depreciation covering the estimated value of the hydro facilities.   This amounts to a substantial windfall to the corporation one which could be utilized within the parent corporation of Mid States Energy.  This was granted in advance to PacifiCorp as an apparent inducement to subscribe to the process leading to facility removal.

What ought to be really infuriating to all citizens is besides the enormous expenditure of funds to remove the facilities with the obvious potential for untold damage to the environment below the dams both aquatic life forms as well as the other animals which rely on the river for sustenance and the well- known damage to the Salmon life cycle there is no clear analysis supporting the position of dam removers that the Salmon population will prosper as a result.  In fact there is ample and irrefutable evidence that the Klamath River prior to the dams had a history of floods and drought and those who documented the early history prior to the dams point to the lack of water in the river during the late summer months.  In addition early reports show that the presence of the Salmon wasn’t always overwhelming.  The very fact of our Native American friends reverence through dances and ceremonies honoring the Salmon returning indicates that their return was not without question.  Further, studies show that the Salmon were never plentiful above the current position of the dams and that evidence of Salmon skeletons in the Upper Lake area was most likely due to trade amongst tribes.  Salmon are a cold water fish and the Upper Klamath Lake after getting by the very substantial basaltic dikes was always warm water and not conducive to Salmon.  If that weren’t enough consider the scientific studies of the Pacific Decadnal Oscillations (El Nino, La Nina) which clearly state that the production of Salmon is necessarily tied to the ebb and flow of these Pacific Ocean currents.  The landowners in the Copco Lake area as well as those along the Klamath River have already suffered significant damages which have persisted over these many years without any compensation while the prospect of hydro dam removal hangs over them.

Siskiyou County Water Users


KRRC: Water certification denial won’t stop removal

By Danielle Jester for Siskiyou Daily News, Posted Sep 11, 2019

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation had applied for the water quality certification on Sept. 4, 2018. Almost exactly one year later, on Sept. 3, the SWRCB issued a denial without prejudice of the water quality certification.

Klamath River Renewal Corporation Director of Communications Matt Cox said that the State Water Resources Control Board’s recent denial of the KRRC’s request for a water quality certification for the Lower Klamath Project will not affect the process to remove four dams along the Klamath River.

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation had applied for the water quality certification on Sept. 4, 2018. Almost exactly one year later, on Sept. 3, the SWRCB issued a denial without prejudice of the water quality certification.

The SWRCB explained in a letter to the KRRC that when a proposed project’s application suffers from some “procedural inadequacy,” the SWRCB may deny the water quality certification without prejudice. That denial can occur even if the project’s compliance with water quality standards hasn’t necessarily been determined.

The SWRCB is also the California Environmental Quality Act lead agency for the Lower Klamath Project; the water board noted that it cannot issue a water quality certification until the CEQA process is complete.

“At this time,” the SWRCB detailed in its letter to the KRRC, “the State Water Board is unable to certify that the Project will comply with California water quality standards and other appropriate requirements of state law because of recent changes to the proposed Project requiring evaluation, the pendency of information requests, and the ongoing work necessary to comply with CEQA.”

Cox said on Monday that the water quality certification denial is “a meaningless administrative, nonsubstantive ruling.” He said the SWRCB’s decision was not based on the substance of the Lower Klamath Project, but was rather based on procedure and timing. “It makes zero difference to the project; it doesn’t affect our timing or progress,” he said.

He clarified that the SWRCB will continue to analyze the Lower Klamath Project, and that the certification denial does not trigger the restarting of any part of the process the KRRC has completed thus far.

“We’ve achieved some important milestones this year,” Cox said. He added, “We are pleased with the progress to remove the dams, fulfill the terms of the [Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement] and bring the benefits of a free-flowing Klamath River to everyone in the basin.”



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