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FERC approved "Partial License" transfer for Klamath River Dams

PRESS RELEASE: Siskiyou County Water Users Association / SCWUA, JULY 17, 2020

Yesterday the FERC Commission without any notice to the many Intervenors, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, or the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, in fact as best we can tell no notice to anyone, placed on their agenda an item referencing The License Transfer to KRRC.  The Commission approved a “Partial License” transfer in essentially a consent agenda item without discussion.

KRRC will try to paint this as a major step forward and a win but not so fast.  After the many letters and documents submitted by ourselves and others including Siskiyou County and Lake Copco raising the concern regarding the thin financing and experience capability of KRRC, the FERC took notice.  The decision they rendered contrary to the request of PacifiCorp and KRRC simply made the two organizations “Co-Licensees” essentially making the liability a jointly shared issue.  The concern, of course, is that KRRC is basically a shell corporation formed for one purpose and one purpose only, i.e. to remove the Klamath Dams.

This action specifically deals only with the transfer of the Hydro License and does not authorize the removal of the Klamath facilities.  In addition, the FERC made certain that PacifiCorp will continue to operate and fund the Dams operations until such time as the request to surrender the License is submitted and approved.  In essence FERC gave a NO CONFIDENCE VOTE on the capability of KRRC.

What is important about the above is that FERC has provided the public opportunity to utilize the deep pockets of PacifiCorp to defray potential damages during the operation of the Dams, and into the future, should eventually the option to remove the Dams be requested and approved.  This is decidedly not what PacifiCorp intended when it entered into the Amended KHSA.  Their intention was to escape the perceived potential liability related to Dam Removal which could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, if not in the billions, should things go wrong.  PacifiCorp has not accepted the FERC order at this point and it has several months to consider the impact of the action at hand.

Finally, as we said at the beginning, this order DOES NOT translate into Dam Removal.  When that time comes there will be Public Hearings and a required NEPA environmental study.  Many of the issues we have raised, as well as others, will require substantial analysis with no certainty that the Dams would be authorized to be removed. 



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