State Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, is dubious of the dam removal agreement and believes alternatives should be considered.
“ I am not convinced that dam removal will better serve the people,” he said. “Fish maybe, but not people. But I am willing to wait for science to better answer that question, although that will now take 3 1 / 2 more years.”
Garrard said alternatives include building fish ladders. He also suggested that if removal goes through, nuclear energy could replace the hydroelectric energy produced by the dams.
‘Pretty remote’ idea
“While the idea is still pretty remote and not supported by many,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Herald and News, “nuclea r is an alternative . However, I doubt that’s a doable alternative.”
State Sen. Doug Whitsett, R -Klamath Falls, did not comment on or suggest any alternatives, but was critical of dam removal plan, saying he believes the negotiations did not favor Oregonians.
The state senator said he was told the highest cost for removing the dams would be about $260 million, and five other proposals would cost less than $200 million.
“ Therefore,” he said, “at least 90 percent of the cost to remove the dams would be paid by Oregon PacifiCorp rate payers.
Under the proposed agreement, $250 million would be raised through a surcharge to PacifiCorp customers and the other $ 200 million would be from a bond approved by California voters.
“Perhaps worse … the (dam removal proposal) sets a plan in motion that would be a precedent, a blueprint, for the removal of the Snake River dams,” he said.
“Northwest ratepayers are already being charged nearly $1 billion each year for salmon mitigation and lost generating capacity for the benefit of salmon.
“At some point these dams, too, will be made uneconomical by these obscene charges and restrictions on river flow use. Once they are made worthless by government regulation, they will be subject to removal."