(Klamath) Citizens oppose dam removal in advisory vote
by Gerry O'Brien, Herald and
Klamath County Commissioner
about where I thought it would come in,” said Klamath County
Commissioner Tom Mallams, who pushed to put the advisory
vote on the ballot. The vote has no weight of law, but was
put on the ballot to give citizens a voice, Mallams said.
“That’s a very
respectable no vote, since no one campaigned to promote the
no vote,” Mallams said, speaking from his home outside of
Beatty. “I just wanted to have a fair, unbiased yes or no
vote for the citizens to have a voice.”
voted 2 to 1 to place the non-binding, advisory vote on the
ballot. Commissioner Jim Bellet was in favor, Kelley Minty
Morris opposed it.
asks, “Are you in favor of removing the four hydroelectric
dams under the terms of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement
A yes vote
advises Klamath County commissioners to support removal of
four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. A no vote
advises the commissioners to oppose removal of the same
dams. Either result is nonbinding.
The dams are
scheduled for relicensing through the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC). Mallams believes that if there
is an overwhelming agreement to keep the dams in place, that
may give the county some leverage at a FERC hearing. The
hearings have yet to be scheduled.
The dams are
privately held by PacifiCorps. One is in Oregon and three
are in Northern California. Both states have initially
agreed to have them removed and the hearings process is
“I don’t know
if FERC will look at our voting record, but really FERC
should be looking at the science and the facts of dam
removal,” he said. “Remember, FERC had said to leave them in
place back in 2007.”
Mallams said that the issue has become so politicized that
perhaps FERC needs to consider the politics as well as the
(FERC) have referred to dam removal as the great experiment.
That’s a heck of an experiment when you have 21 million
cubic yards of sediment flowing downstream.”
Asked if he
felt vindicated over the successful no vote, Mallams said,
“I wasn’t looking for vindication, just looking for voters
to have a say and they stepped up to the plate.
“It is what
voters have been saying all along. And I don’t think anyone
can say this was a biased vote in any way, shape or form.”
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