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Suit says PacifiCorp dams lead to algae

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A group of Klamath River tribal leaders, commercial salmon fishermen, recreational business owners and the Klamath Riverkeeper Group sued Wednesday in federal court in Northern California claiming two PacifiCorp dams on the river cause massive toxic algae blooms.

The lawsuit contends the reservoirs behind Iron Gate and Copco dams in Northern California are a toxic nuisance threatening salmon fishing and posing a human health threat.

The suit wants Portland-based PacifiCorp to stop operating the dams in a way that causes the blooms.

PacifiCorp spokeswoman Jan Mitchell said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

PacifiCorp is seeking a new operating license for a number of its dams. But numerous tribes, commercial fishermen and conservation groups want the dams removed rather than relicensed -- saying the dams hurt water quality and wildlife and cause other problems.

The company contends removal would eliminate a source of renewable low-cost power.

PacifiCorp serves 1.6 million customers in six Western states.

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