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Letter from Rex Cozzalio, Hornbrook, to FERC regarding Klamath
Dam removal and license transfer
Accession #: 20210216-5193 Filed Date: 02/16/2021
Dear Ms. Bose,
We are 4 generations living on the Klamath at the same location directly below where Iron Gate now exists. Our family has remained due to our love of the Klamath, the region, and her community. UNLIKE politically supported economically profiting special interest ‘Signatories’, we live at the special interest railed ‘focal point’ of ‘dams impacts’. UNLIKE the largely non-resident and ‘dams-distant’ benefitting special interest ‘Signatories’, we have actually EXPERIENCED the most ‘dams impacted’ area environment and river before and after dams. UNLIKE the unaccountable Special Interest Signatories personally benefitting by virtue of their position, regardless of Project destruction consequence, we receive ZERO personal benefit by relating our experience, have amassed well over 10 GBytes of referenced data, have dedicated far greater than 10,000 hours in Klamath related research, and have done so at a high monetary and personal cost. I am personally ‘in the Klamath’ over 50 times a year for over 60 years, as my grandfather before me. UNLIKE the profiting special interests WE NEVER SAW here at the described ‘focal point’, our family sacrificed greatly throughout that time to preserve and protect the river and environment we love, working in flood and drought, ice and heat to protect riparian stabilization, water quality, and regional wildlife. We have PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED the dramatic environmental improvements provided by the dams and deep water lakes to regional and downstream water quality, riparian stability, fisheries, wildlife, public safety, and sustainability in our climatically inconsistent transitional zone. To date, not a SINGLE Project area multi-generational family we are aware of has reported or expressed a differing experience. That regional knowledge is why the two counties where the dams actually exist, and which encompass over 2/3’s of the most ‘dams affected’ entire river have BOTH officially voted in high supermajorities AGAINST Project destruction.
Current FERC Order Comments
With the assignment of a new set of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project numbers, a procedurally confusing scenario is created regarding FERC’s currently pending decision and comment period ‘deadline’. FERC’s proposed ‘decision’ combines multiple seemingly incompatible issues.
Whether compliantly crafted by FERC itself or the new proposed ‘applicants’, the pending FERC decision involves non sequential procedures far outside the prior FERC directive scope ordering PacifiCorp to remain a responsible co-licensee as a condition of License Transfer. In their prior Order, FERC seemingly sought to avoid FERC liability backlash resulting from known and potential public/private Project destruction damages. That backlash will certainly occur under currently proposed terms which specifically hold Applicants personally unaccountable. In that Order, FERC reasonably decided to allow License Transfer ONLY upon PacifiCorp agreeing to remain as a responsible co-licensee. In response, PacifiCorp refused EVERY condition required for License Transfer. Instead, Applicants proposed another new completely DIFFERENT ‘Agreement’ with NEW ‘Applicants’ (the State Governors) under completely DIFFERENT contractual terms. Added to that arrogance, PacifiCorp and the ‘new’ Applicants essentially DEMAND FERC:
- ‘Accept’ even greater unsupported promises and unaccountable noncommittal ‘intent’ to perform;
- Sanction the obvious inherent conflict of interest in the States and their associated Agencies acting as co-licensees;
- Combine the completely incompatible ‘License Transfer’ and National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Study into a single predetermined ‘approval’;
- Be satisfied with yet another exclusionary secretly constructed ‘agreement’ intended to protect ONLY the signatories from liability for regional damages using taxpayer funded State Legal Resources and as yet unappropriated State taxpayer funds, and;
- ‘Expedite a favorable ruling’ within the special interest’s self-acknowledged already exceeded ‘performance and funding limited’ timeline.
Every aspect of this ‘demand’ is in direct opposition to the ‘best public interest’. By the Governors proposing the States as co-licensees to carry out personal environmental and political objectives, they yet again place the entire burdens of destruction upon those most harmed. Under the prior indefinite ‘Definite Plan’, to meet obvious budget shortages and still hold themselves harmless, ‘signatories’ created a ‘Facilities Defense Fund’, inappropriately using ratepayer/taxpayer funds which were originally ‘assured’ to ‘mitigate’ damages. In their own words, it laid out a strategy for using prior ‘mitigation’ funds to instead create a financial barrier intended to ‘legally’ contest and economically break those seeking claims for the vast majority of known and potential damages, thereby discouraging further claims for imposed public/private losses. As such, the only factor ‘limiting’ liability protection for the signatories resides in the publicly undisclosed ‘redacted’ limit of the ‘Facilities Defense Fund’. Under the prior ‘Agreement’ Plan, once taxpayer/ratepayer funds are exhausted, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) shell entity becomes insolvent, thereby continuing to absolve signatories from ANY personal accountability or negative consequence from ongoing lawsuits, regardless of catastrophic extent.
With FERC’s currently required condition for PacifiCorp to remain as a co-licensee, once that Facilities Defense Fund is exhausted, PacifiCorp would be held potentially liable for the remainder legal defense costs. KNOWING the certain and potential consequences of destruction, PacifiCorp is wisely unwilling to accept ANY of those conditions.
Now steps in the Governors, regardless of the above stated conflict of interest, proposing radically different terms, altered ‘Agreements’, and even fewer guarantees by inserting THEMSELVES as ‘co-licensees’ in place of PacifiCorp. In fact, the proposed substitution by the States as co-licensees fails to meet all but ONE of those requirements. The entire ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ (MOA) citing a proposed formal detailed ‘Agreement’ which does not yet even exist, between the Governors, PacifiCorp, and other special interests is based entirely upon empty assurances and outright lies. The ONLY FERC criteria which would be provided is the inequitable assurance that unwilling taxpayers would assume the unlimited burden of holding signatories harmless from the damages they impose. If FERC allows that insanity which completely undermines and reverses FERC’s prior Order intent, the States will be the co-defendants, and as stated in their demands to FERC, they will protect the signatories from liability ‘to the fullest extent they can’. Translation… as co-defendants, the Governors will use unending confiscated taxpayer funds to pursue the same above described KRRC legal barriers, not only effectively holding themselves personally unaccountable for the damages they impose, but the special interest signatories as well, with the intent to financially crush those seeking damages through using the victim’s own money for defense and/or award!
The Signatories’ claim that the proposed $45 million jointly provided funds ($15 Million each from both States and PacifiCorp) MORE than cover existing fund limitations, and protects ratepayers from unlimited costs, are BASELESS. Those funds STILL do not come close to the previous dissected high end estimates of costs for even the LIMITED damages the signatories ‘acknowledge’. An even greater illusion is that the entire funds are still available, when over $60 million has ALREADY been spent, much of it in unpredicted protracted extraordinary legal, administrative, and insurance costs. Additionally, PacifiCorp adds to FERC presented MOA illusion by stating ratepayers are further protected from costs by the acceptance of Licensee substitution. Knowingly false, in PacifiCorp’s ‘Advisory’ letter to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), which PRESUMES CPUC acceptance of Signatory substitution, PacifiCorp specifically REFUSES to waive their ability to pass on ANY MOA costs to ratepayers through future CPUC requested rate increases, thereby ADMITTING the future potential for ‘Agreement’ breaking exceedance of ratepayer ‘capped’ funds even AFTER destruction ‘approval..
It is universally acknowledged that destruction of the Klamath’s only deep water lakes, fisheries infrastructure, and hydroelectric facilities would comprise the largest and most expensive such known ‘Project’ in the world to date. Despite the Governors’ claims to the contrary, the States do NOT have the ‘co-licensee’ required experience, expertise, ability, or track record to carry out an endeavor of this magnitude, as evidenced in the prior gross mismanagement and cost understatements of the MUCH SMALLER Oroville Dam ‘repair’ Project. By even attempting to do so, there is an inherent public conflict of interest created by the States acting as owners.
State Agencies act under the direction of their respective Commissions. Commissions are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Governors. The Governor sets the environmental policies which the Commissions are mandated to carry out. The legislatures may review those policies, but cannot alter them. In pursuit of their personal political and environmental affiliation purposes, the Governors have officially and publicly documented policies specifically demanding their Agencies facilitate destruction of the Klamath Hydroelectric infrastructure, deep water lakes, and fisheries facilities. With permitting authority to approve or deny Projects falling under Agency purview, those Agencies are entrusted to unbiasedly evaluate potential benefits and harms in the best public interest, and yet their governing Commissions are REQUIRED to carry out the declared policies of the Governors REGARDLES of ‘benefit’. That conflicting bias has already been seen in the recent California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Klamath Environmental Impact Report (EIR). With virtually ALL of the ‘justification’ for destruction based upon signatory derived hypothetically based premise well over a decade old, DWR apparently acquiesced to signatory requests NOT to consider the extensive subsequent site specific empirical studies uniformly REFUTING destruction benefits, as evidenced by the department budget request allocating NOT A SINGLE HOUR to investigation of that data. Hundreds of comments detailing empirical studies and data; historical documentation; more effective alternatives now available at a FRACTION of even the LOWEST ‘value engineered’ Plan destruction costs; and the submitted evidence refuting Signatory claims, failed to receive ANY effective consideration. The subsequent EIR acknowledged many consequences of destruction, including: massive environmental and regional consequential devastation cited as ‘inescapable and unmitigated’; the fact that those damages would NOT occur with the Project left in place; and that signatory claimed ‘benefits’ of destruction are NOT certain. Nonetheless, the EIR unsurprisingly concluded ‘approving’ unaccountable Governor endorsed destruction. Obviously, by the Governors making the States a co-licensee signatory, the further added pressure upon Agencies to act contrary to the public interest in favor of policy-driven Signatory liability protection will TRULY be ‘ inescapable and unmitigated’.
The demand by signatories and the interceding Governors for FERC to suddenly combine License Surrender together with License Transfer apparently seeks to completely reverse prior FERC and Licensee advocated rationales in a desire for Signatories to ‘have their cake and eat it too’ through manipulating an opportunistic unaccountable biased predetermined outcome of regional destruction.
When the original Application was rightfully filed as a combined License Transfer and Surrender, it logically followed that any FERC consideration had to acknowledge the unique fact that a finding for License Transfer was functionally a simultaneous approval for Surrender destruction. Supported by those most affected, that single filing would have required a comprehensive and inclusive NEPA evaluation BEFORE consideration of License Transfer, INCLUDING comparing risks and benefits of destruction RELATIVE to the Project REMAINING IN PLACE with considered CURRENT empirical science, PROVEN options, and the far more cost effective engineered alternatives available since the 2006 original FERC EIS some 15 years ago. Seeing that comprehensive NEPA as a challenge to predetermined outcome, the Signatories split the License Transfer and License Surrender ‘process’ with support of FERC, thereby rendering a much greater procedural potential for Project destruction certainty. By splitting the ‘process’, FERC would ONLY consider their selective requirements of Signatory liability protections and the assumed likelihood of sufficient ratepayer/taxpayer confiscated funds to carry out original ‘Agreement’ promises as the only conditions for approving License Transfer. Once FERC would approve a License Transfer to an entity having the sole shell corporation constructed by-law purpose of destruction, ANY ensuing NEPA would NOT consider IF the Project SHOULD be destroyed… only HOW, effectively preventing a NEPA study from considering ANY current science and data REFUTING implied ‘benefits’ of destruction. Precluding any NEPA consideration of whether destruction is in the best public interest would thereby make FERC License Surrender ‘approval’ of unaccountable destruction a procedural certainty. At that point, since FERC would have already prematurely ‘approved’ the amount of confiscated ratepayer/taxpayer funds as being ‘adequate’ under the prior granted License Transfer, any subsequent NEPA finding that those funds are factually insufficient would be toothless, instead requiring that NEPA ‘evaluation’ conform its requirements and ‘mitigations’ to the amount of funds available, AGAIN in conflict with the best public interest.
Ironically, despite a compliant FERC turning a blind eye to accommodate massive KRRC inconsistencies, and subsequent to the three completely different ‘Amended’ ‘Agreements’ having completely different terms and signatories no longer even resembling original ‘Agreement’ obligations and ‘mitigations’, the Merry Go Round Signatories have STILL been unable to adequately assure EITHER of FERC’s minimal conditions for License Transfer. Now, with the increasingly obvious KRRC inability to prove or carry out even the most basic of original ‘Agreement’ premise, the Governors are attempting to strong-arm FERC into an ‘expedited approval’ of unaccountable policy driven devastation, regardless of consequence to any EXCEPT the Signatories. On top of it, as a last ditch effort to impose their quickly collapsing house of cards, Signatories are now seeking to compel FERC into ADDING the Surrender back into a single ‘decision’, implying that FERC has ‘already approved’ License Transfer in its prior Order by virtue of Signatories somehow claiming they have already ‘satisfied’ those requirements. In fact PacifiCorp resoundingly REJECTED EVERY ONE of those Order conditions. Should FERC ‘approve’ that procedurally inconsistent request to suddenly include License Surrender with License Transfer, any Signatories’ presumptively ‘approved’ License Transfer would once again create the above described predetermined paradox of regional destruction regardless of unaccountable damages and failed ‘benefits’. As a result, to be consistent both procedurally and in order to act in the best public interest, a revised combining of the License Transfer and License Surrender can and should ONLY occur subject to the originating FERC rationally defined requirement that decisions regarding BOTH License Transfer and License Surrender will be held in abeyance until AFTER a full comprehensive NEPA study. That NEPA study MUST first assess IF massive destruction imposed by unaccountable Signatories is in the best public interest compared to the Project remaining in place including consideration of currently available science, options, and available alternatives, thereby allowing for the greatest compounded and least damaging potential for beneficial success. Anything less opens a black hole of opposition and litigation by those most harmed.
In addition, the 1/25/2021 FERC filing by the U.S. Corps of Engineers (COE) requesting to lead any Klamath NEPA evaluation is also inappropriate. That would set a scenario particularly suited to a narrowly viewed NEPA assessment sought by the Signatories to only assess ‘options and impacts’ within the predetermined parameters of certain destruction! The ONLY Agency heretofore typically claiming the expertise and resources to assess holistic environmental conditions and proposed action impacts is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an opinion previously opined by FERC in their own policy statements addressing proposed dam construction. While the EPA has the politically-driven authority to ignore any of the presented peer reviewed empirical science and historical documentation refuting destruction, they are nonetheless obligated to receive it and consider the entire contributory ecosystem and all available alternatives before making a ‘determination’ whether ANY such action is in the best interest of the public. Only AFTER a holistic, comprehensive, inclusive, accountable, and economically supported ‘determination’ that imposing environmental and regional devastation is the ONLY viable environmental option, can the EPA, in conjunction with other applicable Agencies, THEN consider how to best IMPLEMENT their previously determined mitigating ‘requirements’ and costs minimizing that devastation. Once again, if License Transfer has already been inappropriately prematurely granted in the scenario described above, any such EPA ‘requirements’ can then ONLY ineffectually occur within the constraints of the previously FERC ‘approved’ budget limitations, in violation of best public interest.
Considering the above, the only viable option in the best public interest is for FERC to:
- Deny the States as co-licensees;
- Continue to require PacifiCorp to act as a responsible co-licensee until such time as KRRC, or other entity is found willing and able to accountably mitigate all realized damages. That includes mitigation allocation for the known potential damages Signatories presently claim ‘will not occur’, WITHOUT utilizing a confrontational policy of legal opposition to minimize responsibility;
- Perform, PRIOR to any further determinations, substitutions, or endless new ‘Agreements’, a formal review of whether the CURRENT ‘Agreement’ contract and signatories still meet the ORIGINAL Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement/Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KBRA/KHSA) ‘intrinsically tied’ restoration funding, intent, and mitigation of damages upon which the entire prior destruction ‘justification’ was based. If not, the prior ‘justifications’ and ‘assessments’ for destruction MUST be considered presently inapplicable, thereby REQUIRING a NEPA study based upon NEW Project-specific assessments, data, conditions, and impacts.
- Delay any decisions regarding BOTH License Transfer and subsequent potential License Surrender UNTIL AFTER COMPLETION of that comprehensive EPA NEPA study encompassing holistic, range wide In/Out/Alternative impacts with cost effective risk/benefit assessment and Proposed Project EPA required mitigation costs;
- Only IF the EPA determines regional destruction and environmental devastation is in the ‘best public interest’, FERC to initiate assessment of the financial and technical capacity of KRRC to complete FERC and EPA requirements;
- Only IF KRRC is found to have adequate capacity to perform BOTH EPA AND FERC requirements, INCLUDING ‘actual’ mitigation for imposed regional public/private damages, and NOT the unethical legal defense of Signatories paid from ratepayer/taxpayer funds previously confiscated for other purpose, should the Signatories receive Transfer approval.
Historical documentation from first explorers and their Tribal guides, pre-Project biologists, Fish and Game employees, and regional residents support our experience that salmon, pre and post dams, are already dying by the time they make the arduous trip to our location, and were NEVER known to reach above Spencer Creek or Keno Reef just above where Copco now exists due to declining upstream salmon conducive water quality, geological impediments, and physically deteriorated depleted salmon. Those facts were even more evident at the time Fish and Game investigated and approved Copco as having minimal impacts NOT requiring a fish ladder, with far more salmon able to be produced at the ‘mitigating’ Fall Creek Hatchery than EVER known ‘naturally’ occurring in the evaluated ‘Project’ Fish and Game designated MARGINALLY conducive anadromous salmon habitat. For half a century the region experienced the significant environmental and fisheries benefits of Copco PROVEN by return statistics. However, it was clear that Copco alone did not have enough filtering and attenuation capacity to fully mitigate upstream water and regionally experienced flood extremes impacting downstream public safety and riparian damages. With the subsequent proposals of John Boyle and Iron Gate nearly half a century later, even though a great deal of effort was put into mitigating the additional statistically proven minimal increased anadromous habitat loss that would occur, the massive added downstream environmental benefits are a large part of why area residents actively supported the Iron Gate addition. Upon completion, the regional further improvements to downstream water quality, fisheries, riparian stability, public safety, and reduced flood damage were observably profound to ALL in the ‘most affected area’. With the otherwise non-existent cold water ‘artificially’ available from Iron Gate allowing the Project supported creation of Iron Gate Hatchery, the historically UNKNOWN 6,000,000 smolts able to be consistently reared at the hatchery, dramatically INCREASING the sustainable fishery returns to the region, was universally acknowledged, hailed, and statistically proven by residents and Agencies alike for another 30 years before profiting special interests entered the picture. At that point the sudden and erratic coastal return ‘salmon collapse’ was utilized by entering special interests for personal agenda, purposely ignoring the several known and documented causes UNRELATED and UNATTRIBUTABLE to the Klamath Project in favor of pursuing a cause of ‘regional rewilding’. Creating hypothetically ‘modeled science’ and rewriting regional history, those financially benefitting interests opportunistically seized pending Klamath Project FERC relicensing as the weapon to forcibly impose confiscatory reallocated resources and regional rewilding. Citing those modeled ‘studies’ and revised history, special interests convinced FERC to only ‘consider’ 6 limited ‘options’ and ‘recommend’ one which, due to a cost escalating plethora of often operation unrelated special interest demanded ‘mitigations’, made continued Project operation economically infeasible, thereby forcing Pacific Power into a ‘negotiating’ corner. Pressured into ‘Agreements’ by and with the KBRA orchestrating interests using the same exclusionary secret meetings, the KHSA would allow ONLY the preconditioned outcome of dams destruction in exchange for offered Pacific Power survival plus percs, including imposing destruction costs on unrepresented ratepayers. One of the ‘good faith’ favors required from PacifiCorp in return, was interim millions of that confiscated ratepayer money being funneled to the special interests themselves in order to produce site specific empirical proof intended to confirm their previous hypothetically modeled assumptions. Ironically, ALL of the emerging empirical data has instead supported regional experience and REFUTED special interest modeled hypothesis, data which has been demonstrably suppressed by the ‘managing’ special interests from use in subsequent Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and CDWR EIRs. During this time, Pacific Power was sold to Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet), reversing previous owners’ locally knowledge based opposition to destruction of both the Project and environment. Failing Congressional approval and with the ‘Agreements’ demise, several of the special interests manufactured an entirely new contractually different ‘Agreement’, calling it ‘amended’ in order to continue claiming the prior ‘Agreement-specific’ confiscated ratepayer funds. Some of the same interests then created a shell corporation (KRRC) to carry out destruction, provide signatories with liability protection, and initiate a public campaign citing extensive promises, assurances, and assertions which became locally evident they could not and would not be able or willing to provide. With their entirely new tactic of bypassing public approval and forcing destruction in a ‘cooperative’ push though FERC, their sole ‘Agreement required’ condition was for special interest signatories to be held harmless from the damages they impose on others. Though FERC curiously granted that provision seemingly in opposition to FERC required best public interest, it ADDED the requirement that the confiscated ratepayer/taxpayer funds must at least be deemed adequate to carry out proposed destruction, since NONE of the special interest Signatories were personally contributing a SINGLE DOLLAR. Given the ensuing obvious inability of KRRC to carry out their originally promised ‘mitigations’ of damages, they circumvented that requirement by fabricating a ‘value engineered’ reduction of obligations, and a ‘Facilities Defense Fund’ using ratepayer/taxpayer funds taken from the other Project obligations to exclusively protect Signatories from the damages they impose, further drastically eliminating ‘Agreement’ originally claimed regional ‘assurances’. With the resultant FERC Order responsibly requiring PacifiCorp to remain as a responsible co-licensee, PacifiCorp flatly refused ALL Order conditions. That brings us to the point of this comment, wherein yet ANOTHER ‘Agreement’ has been proposed, ensuring virtual total ELIMINATION of ANY minimally remaining accountability and placing the ENTIRE burden upon the most affected and impacted resident supermajority ratepayers and taxpayers in opposition to destruction and suffering the highest costs and consequences.
KRRC and Local Impacts
Despite the KRRC’s unending promises, ever delaying assurances, history altering repetitions, knowingly failed ‘science’ fallacies, and their ratepayer/taxpayer financed media department mass produced published rhetoric, the experience of local residents dealing with them at the most impacted ‘focal point’ of Project destruction has been tellingly reprehensible. Originally attempting to convince the local public of an environmental history that didn’t exist, critical questions they couldn’t answer, and unfounded promises they never performed, rather than incorporating local knowledge and addressing solutions, they instead created a policy concerning directly impacted individuals of forever advancing interactive delay. It quickly became clear, and was later publicly admitted, there is and has never been an intention for KRRC to provide ‘mitigations’ for the vast majority of those directly affected, simply targeting their continuing paid rhetoric seeking support to the uninformed distant masses. Using their admittedly flawed ‘modeled hydrograph, even the miniscule handful they ‘acknowledge’ are affected have received NOTHING but empty words, vague options, uninformative ‘sketches’, endlessly delayed promises of non-existent ‘actual numbers’, and patronizing ‘take it or lose it’ attitude. Presenting various methods of ‘placing houses on stilts’, ‘moving foundations’, taking substantial land to place a known ineffective ‘upstream berm’, and ‘outright purchase’ attendant with single page drawings, have to date failed follow up on even those vaguely defined preliminary ‘agreements’ necessary for KRRC to factually estimate the ‘Definite Plan’ associated costs fictitiously declared with budget limiting certainty to FERC. EVERY one of the proposed ‘potential physical remedies’ to date demand Owners accept massively devalued property, major degraded quality of life, increased risk to personal safety, extensive loss of property use, and likely elimination of flood insurance availability, with the primary ‘Definite Plan’ assertion that ANY ‘mitigation’ REQUIRES Signatory absolution. Those private interactions have made clear the KRRC intention to accept NONE of those majority losses beyond a white washed minimal façade for public and FERC consumption.
In our experience before and after dams AT that ‘focal point’, it is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that EVERY land owner along the Klamath will suffer significant property loss of avulsion, erosion, riparian destabilization, and exacerbated flood damages upon Project destruction for AT LEAST 60 MILES downstream, AS WELL as within the ‘Project Footprint’, ESPECIALLY including the vast majority of those built in the 100 years subsequent to dams in place. At NO POINT has KRRC accepted ANY liability for ANYTHING beyond the money confiscated from ratepayers/taxpayers, but in the ‘Definite Plan’ HAVE clearly stated their intent to legally challenge into economic extinction virtually ALL of those who dare approach them seeking damages.
Claiming to the public and FERC that 30 MILLION yards of sediment will ‘flush right down and out’, an inane statement ONLY made by someone holding themselves unaccountable, the KRRC has yet to recognize or address the inescapable environmental and infrastructure devastation that WILL occur along the entire river and estuary as PROVEN by the Elwha and Condit disasters. Offhandedly ‘mentioning’ deposits raising the river over 7 feet in mud as inconsequential, but which they will magnanimously ‘monitor’, that sediment will fill EVERY deep water refugia, water diversion, salmon redd, gravel bed, and shoreline habitat, exacerbating periphyton growth, polychaete proliferation, compounding salmon disease, and instream toxic algal outbreaks along the ENTIRE 180 miles. Even IF that 30 Million yards someday magically ‘flushed down’, BEFORE the dams began trapping it in the lakes, we WITNESSED sediment EVERY YEAR sufficient to ‘maintain’ the perpetually degraded conditions listed above, VERIFIED by pre-dams historical records of frequent complete blockages to ALL anadromous access at the estuary.
Where in the ‘Definite Plan’ have the KRRC assured that EVERY diversion landowner within 60 miles of the Project will be reimbursed for the costs ranging from $5,000 to $!50,000 for replacing diversions, pump systems, and previously unneeded filtration systems? WHO will pay for the subsequent losses of homes and infrastructure built since the dams AFTER their destruction?
Lake area residents realized instant property value losses exceeding 20% with the FIRST HINT of destruction in 2006. In the intervening decades of increasing special interest aggression and obfuscation, those values dropped to a FRACTION of their pre-announcement amounts, going without ANY sales for years at a time. To date, not a single lakeside resident has received definitive assurance of loss protection. In fact, KRRC has SPECIFICALLY DENIED accountability for the vast majority of owner impacts, citing ‘it is ‘inappropriate’ to use ratepayer/taxpayer funds to reimburse owners for ‘personal’ value and use losses. That is odd, when those very funds were originally confiscated by the Signatories citing EXACTLY that purpose, rather than the now appropriated use being designated for their own ‘personal’ Signatory legal defense. Even the ‘acknowledged’ loss of Wells, Septic systems, recreational infrastructure, erosion, and foundation loss have received NO verified commitments, with LESS implied upon each successive ‘Agreement’ and ‘Definite Plan’ substitution. The fire protection and water availability for the region has IRREFUTTABLY SAVED the entire area from vastly GREATER devastation, and likely TOTAL ERDICATION of area homes. Already covered in detail to FERC by others, the unaccountable Governor policy complicit Cal Fire Agency ‘evaluation’ of Copco and Iron Gate Lakes’ water resource and fire break destruction being of ‘little impact’ is biasedly ridiculous even to the casual observer. To regional residents whose lives and properties DEPEND on those EXPERIENCED lake protections, Cal Fire’s inept, dismissive, inadequate, and unsustainable ‘evaluated’ mitigations are logically insane, with ‘alternatives’ failing to achieve even a modicum of equivalent protection, even IF those ‘proposed mitigations’ were assured or sustainably achievable, WHICH THEY ARE NOT. WHO is going to be accountable for loss of life and property when fire insurance is no longer available? WHO is going to pay for all of those directly consequential losses to property values, use, and quality of life? WHO is going to be responsible for the ongoing high maintenance and replacement costs for inadequate fire-related ‘mitigating’ infrastructure? WHO is going to pay for health and safety issues from toxic dust storms and degraded environmental conditions ALREADY EXPERIENCED and STILL UNRESOLVED by Condit Dam landowners suffering major effects in a region far less climatically conducive to detrimental outcome?
The lakes have provided a hundred years of extensive critically consistent habitat for rare species that previously DID NOT EXIST, GREATLY supporting WITNESSED sustainable wildlife previously subject to ‘natural’ transitionally variable habitat cyclic elimination and species extirpation. The lakes have also vastly improved WITNESSED fisheries benefit. Prior to the dams, the river canyon upstream was OFTEN known to go completely SUBSURFACE in late summer. PRIOR to Iron Gate existence, we would have contests over which of us could first catch a hundred fish in 30 minutes, fishing in consistent summer conditions of high sediment loads, expansive periphyton, and algal mats occasionally extending across the entire low water river which could be crossed over rocks without wetting our feet. Those fish were small, inedible yellow perch and bullheads which our grandfather would not allow us to return to the river, and which even hungry animals refused to eat. Only on occasion would we catch a trout, which was invariably small and seldom usable at our location. In segregating the previously vacillating water quality conditions marginally conducive for ANY present species, the lakes sequestered conditions enhancing ALL species. As a result of that enhancement, one of the largest multi life-stage populations of endangered sucker fish exists at John Boyle and Copco; one of the strongest remaining populations of redband trout flourishes BETWEEN Copco and Iron Gate; the warm water species at Copco and Iron Gate now produce world class fishing competitions, and the much greater cold water species conducive river habitat immediately downstream of Iron Gate at our location now seldom sees a yellow perch or bullhead. Recent sentinel fish studies and polychate/ceratomyxa surveys now PROVE that natural FAR GREATER fish disease conditions ALREADY exists UPSTREAM of the Project than BELOW. With dams and lake destruction, ALL competitive incompatible species and habitats will be negatively impacted, and salmon disease genotypes not yet existing upstream will be forcibly introduced, infecting and compounding disease transmission throughout the entire river, and without the ‘artificially’ lake generated consistently colder water and loss of one of the most productive hatcheries in California, the precipitous drop to pre-dams’ historic ‘naturally produced’ upstream numbers will irreparably damage ‘sustainable’ salmon returns to the ENTIRE Klamath watershed. Historically and statistically baseless ‘claims’ of ‘millions of salmon’ produced in the ‘hundreds of miles’ above the dams are ludicrous, when studies have PROVEN that LESS THAN 25% of the EXISTING acknowledged ‘ideal’ salmon conducive COASTAL Klamath tributaries are even UTILIZED by migrating salmon, and that OCEAN conditions and/or offshore-estuary overfishing are the primary indicated factors in any ‘collapse’, and NOT riverine or dams related causation.
The ONLY deep water lakes on the Klamath have been PROVEN the ONLY sustainable improvement of naturally high nutrient Upper Basin water delivered downstream. The lakes are now PROVEN to have NO discernable negative impact on downstream water temperatures, and with the new ‘curtain wall’ at Iron Gate, they can even LOWER ‘natural’ water temperatures immediately downstream at will during critical times. Even the frenetically claimed ‘toxic algae’ contribution assertion has been historically and scientifically rebutted. In over a hundred years of dams in place, not a SINGLE REPORT of ‘toxic algae’ induced illness has EVER been reported on the ‘dams impacted’ river or lakes. The prior CDC study CERTAIN to find site specific toxicity INSTEAD found recreators feeling BETTER AFTER immersion than before, with NO evidenced ‘toxic’ effects. Recent studies regarding ‘toxic’ microcystis aeruginosa (MA) now indicate a MUCH LOWER potential for generated toxicity in lakes than instream. They also demonstrate: very LITTLE toxicity potential from microcystin suspended in the water column; that deep water lakes provide the ONLY KNOWN biological environment able to break down microcystin toxins; the above mentioned ‘curtain wall’ restricts the vast majority of ANY algae from discharge downstream; and that instream growth and ingestion of MA presents a FAR GREATER health risk to the entire food chain, particularly salmon. In addition, recent empirical studies have PROVEN MA’s ability to thrive instream, with greater outbreaks ALREADY occurring 120 miles downstream than EVER seen in the river discharged from Iron Gate. Destruction of the dams and deep water lakes will inescapably create higher nutrient supported outbreaks of likely higher toxicity MA throughout the river, increasing directly ingested potential harm to the entire downstream food chain, including human. Therefor I appeal that UNTIL an entity emerges capable, willing, and able to adequately address ALL known and potential associated environmental and public/private risks and damages resulting from Project destruction, that License Transfer and License Surrender approval be DENIED!
Most of the empirical science, historical documentation, regional statistics, ‘modeled studies’ failures, Project alternatives, and procedural occurrences, encompassing well over 400 area specific applicable references, has been previously formally presented and updated to FERC multiple times in this proceeding, to no perceived FERC acknowledgement or inclusion beyond the automated postings, so due to the undisclosed nature of Project ‘sub docket’ prior information incorporation, I request those prior submissions be included here by reference.
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