Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Karuk Tribe of California
will cook salmon and share it with ScottishPower
shareholders in bid to win removal of seven dams
along the Klamath River.
Press grants permission for this article to be
copied and forwarded.
Vol. 32, No. 35
Karuks smoke salmon in Scotland
-- Local tribe makes international headlines.
By Liz Bowen, assistant editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California.
YREKA, CALIFORNIA – "Yes," Sally LaBriere, regional community manager of PacifiCorp, knew that 20 Native Americans and representatives of Green enviro groups were flying to Scotland to demand the removal of dams in the Klamath River.
LaBriere also knew that the contingent of Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath Tribes timed its arrival during the annual meeting of the ScottishPower shareholders. ScottishPower is the parent company of PacifiCorp.
"Our goal is to find a good balance," said LaBriere, describing the meetings that have been held in Siskiyou County, California during the last several years, regarding the re-licensing of the local PacifiCorp power-generating facilities.
The local Native American Tribes have been part of the process and in attendance at meetings held during the scooping process of the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) re-licensing.
According to PacifiCorp records, the company has even paid the Karuks and other tribal leaders to attend meetings. The present license will run out in 2006. A new license will be in affect for several decades.
But in an unexpected move, local tribal officials and leaders of Green advocacy groups decided to fly to Scotland to demand the removal of the dams. There are seven facilities along the mid and upper Klamath River that generate power for PacifiCorp.
On July 17, 2004, the LA Times ran an article about Karuk Tribal Vice Chairman Leaf Hillman, traveling to Scotland. It is on the front page of the California section.
The day before in Scotland, The Scotsman newspaper ran an article titled American Indians bring dam fight home."
Eric Bailey wrote in the LA Times, "Members of the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath tribes plan to dig a fire pit near the corporation's Edinburgh headquarters, smoke Klamath salmon over the embers and share it with stockholders."
Continuing in the Times, the article states, "The trip to Scotland coincides with a renewal of tensions between the alliance of Indians, commercial fishermen and environmentalists and a common adversary: upstream farmers in the Klamath Basin, a 200,000-acre swath of farmland ... ."
Coincidentally, on July 17, U.S. Congressmen were holding a subcommittee hearing on the Endangered Species Act, when international news articles and Scotland radio broadcasts about the plight of California and Klamath Tribes began running. LaBriere said she was told that the contingent would be meeting with environmental and other groups in Scotland.
John Ross, writer of The Scotsman article quoted an official of ScottishPower. Judi Johansen, chief executive officer of PacifiCorp and an executive director of ScottishPower, said: "We take the Klamath tribe’s concerns very seriously. Removing the dams is not a simple solution, as there is significant scientific controversy surrounding this complex and polluted river system."
Back home, LaBriere said the local plants
generate 151 mega watts, capable of producing
electricity for 77,500 homes. This "floating system"
on the Klamath plays a special roll, because it is
used to generate extra power during peak-usage
In May, the Klamath Tribes began a lawsuit against PacifiCorp for $1 billion over their demands to remove the dams on the river.
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