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Dam-removal measure bad deal for ratepayers

March 1, 2009 Herald and News Letter to Editor by Brad Van Cleve, Portland
    This is in response to your Feb. 15 editorial on Senate Bill 76.

    I am an energy attorney and familiar with the interests of large consumers on electric energy issues in the Northwest.

    Senate Bill 76 is not a good deal for Oregon ratepayers.

    The bill mandates that Oregon ratepayers pick up 92 percent of the costs of removing the Klamath River dams while ratepayers, who benefit from the Klamath Project power in the other states where PacifiCorp provides power, pay nothing.

    Three of the four dams are located in California, yet California ratepayers are not facing Senate Bill 76-like legislation. California taxpayers are being asked to pass a $250 million bond measure as their contribution.

    State Sen. Doug Whitsett is correct to be concerned about high power costs for his constituents.

    Dam removal is just one piece of the cost equation. Replacement power costs will be very expensive. The bill is being sold as just costing $1.50 per month per household. The real costs will be much higher for businesses, industry and irrigators.

    What is also not mentioned is the $1.50 per month is for 10 years and it does not include the higher replacement power costs that will be in place for decades. For some, this is just about fish; for others, it is about jobs and economic viability.

Brad Van Cleve, Portland

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