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California Clean Water Hearings Begin on Warren Buffett's Pacificorp Dams
by Dan Bacher
Friday Oct 3rd, 2008 3:25 PM
The State Water Resources Control Board will hold clean water hearings on Warren Buffett's PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River from October 20 thru November 3. "If you could do one thing to un-dam the Klamath - this is it!" according to Georgianna Myers, Yurok tribal member and organizer for the Klamath Riverkeeper. Here are the details, including the dates, times and locations of the hearings:
Klamath Riverkeeper Action Alert October 3, 2008

California Clean Water Hearings Begin on Pacificorp's Dams

If you could do one thing to un-dam the Klamath - this is it!

For the last four years PacifiCorp's Klamath dams have created one of the worst toxic algae problems ever recorded. This month, the State Water Board will decide if relicensing these dams is consistent with the Clean Water Act.

Show up for these public hearings and submit your comments to the Water Board: PacifiCorp's dams should NOT receive the clean water certification they need from the state of California in order to be relicensed by the federal government.

After successul legal action from Klamath Riverkeeper forcing the US EPA to list the algal toxin Microcystin as a pollutant, and forcing California to regulate PacifiCorp, the state is now reviewing the issue through a special Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR will determine if the dams are issued clean water certification known as a 401 permit, or if they are removed. The 401 permit may be the single most crucial process within the movement to un-dam the Klamath. If California denies PacifiCorp’s clean water permit for the dams, it is likely that the only realistic solution to the algae pollution is dam removal.

More information at
News article at


We are depending on the Klamath-loving public to stand up for clean water on our river, and say no to dams that threaten it. In the next month there will be multiple public hearings on the decision to issue PacifiCorp a 401 permit. We absolutely need you to attend whatever hearings are in your area and to submit comments on this issue.

Questions about the process and how to comment as well as carpool information may be directed to Georgianna Myers in northern California (707- 599-0877, georgianna[at] or Malena Marvin in southern Oregon (541-821-7260, malena[at]

Eureka, Ca - October 20th, 1:30 -3:30 pm
Six Rivers National Forest
1330 Bayshore WayKlamath River Algae Health Advisory

Klamath, Ca - October 20th, 6 - 8 pm
Yurok Tribe Headquarters
190 Klamath Blvd.

Orleans, Ca - October 21st, 12 - 2 pm
Karuk Community Center
39051 State Why. 96
530-627-3446 x 0

Yreka, Ca - October 21st, 6 - 8 pm
Union High School Student Union
431 Knapp Street

Sacramento, Ca - October 29th, 3- 6 pm
California EPA Bldg - Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 "I" St.

Sacramento, Ca - November 3rd, 9-11 am
California EPA Bldg - Sierra Hearing Room
1001 "I" St.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by water quality (flow, temp & O2)
Monday Oct 13th, 2008 5:47 PM
Dam removal will SAVE ratepayers money

PacifiCorp press releases continually claim that dam removal will hurt their ratepayers. What they don't say, and what their own economics have shown, is that keeping the dams and bringing them into compliance with modern standards will cost ratepayers more!

Energy analysts with the California Energy Commission are so certain that keeping the dams would cost more money than removing them, they sent a signed letter to Public Utilities Commissions in three states asking them NOT to approve ratepayer hikes for costly upgrades associated with relicensing the Klamath Dams. In fact, they suggested only approving rate changes for decommissioning.

The CEC concluded keeping the dams could cost ratepayers $100 million more than dismantling them. Their report states, "Decommissioning the Klamath Hydro Project and procuring replacement power for 30 years would be less costly to PacifiCorp and its ratepayers than relicensing the project and mitigating its impacts."

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released another analysis confirming the economics. According to FERC, Pacific Power customers will save $210 million by removing the dams.
The CEC and FERC studies do not factor in millions of taxpayer dollars in disaster relief for commercial fisherman that lost their livelihoods to the 2006 and 2008 salmon closures.
We know enough about the science and safety of dam removal to get the ball rolling

PacifiCorp is trying to create a climate of uncertainty around dam removal, using veiled statements to imply that we don't know if dam removal will save fish, or if it will be safe for local people. In fact, scientists are certain that these dams block salmon from half of their watershed, increase water temperatures that breed fish-killing diseases, and cause dangerous outbreaks of toxic algae.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service identified the lack of fish passage beyond Iron Gate Dam as a "significant impact" to Klamath salmon runs.

Meanwhile, consulting engineers have analyzed dam sediment for toxicity and deposition dynamics and found little risk from dam removal to downriver communities.
Dam removal would not begin until 2015, leaving plenty of time to continue scientific analysis and ensure safe removal.

Dams are being removed safely throughout the West. Check out PGE's safe removal of Marmot Dam on Oregon's Sandy River. Or the National Park Service's plan to take out Glines Canyon Dam, a 210-foot dinosaur on the Elwha River. Montanans will remove a major dam near Missoula, and it's toxic sludge, with little controversy.

We're a grass roots coalition speaking up for tribes, citizens, and commercial fishermen

The campaign to remove the Klamath dams is led by a unique and diverse collaborative of the Klamath's Native Tribes, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, and river advocacy groups.

We are local people adversely affected by PacifiCorp's corporate politics and poor environmental practices. Commercial fishing closures in Oregon and California, due to failing Klamath salmon runs, have devastated fishing families, costing taxpayers millions in disaster relief. Native Tribes struggle to continue their salmon-based subsistence lifestyle, commercial salmon fishing, and salmon-centered ceremonial culture.

Dam removal will bring economic benefits to local communities

Dam removal means a $200-500 million investment in deconstruction, which means new jobs in Siskiyou County and a huge cash influx to local businesses.

After that, as salmon runs recover, toxic algae disappears, and the river regains its natural look, fishermen and recreationalists will flock to the Klamath. The local tourism and angling industry is currently in decline, and this investment in the “restoration economy” will turn that around, drawing visitors to raft, explore and fish the Klamath’s famous waters.

As economics studies typically predict, riverfront property values will likely increase as water quality improves, and struggling coastal fishermen will get their jobs back.

Rafting and angling businesses currently face seasonal closures of the river to recreational contact due to highly toxic algae blooms that are released from PacifiCorp's dams into 190 miles of the Klamath River.

Large-scale hydro is not necessarily clean and renewable.

Published science reveals that the world’s largest dams release 104 million metric tons of methane annually, the single largest source of human-related methane emissions on the planet.
Scientists have made preliminary estimates based on toxic algae and water quality conditions on the Klamath, and found that up to 1/8 of the carbon emissions displaced by the Klamath Hydro Project are regained from methane emissions.

When you factor in dwindling salmon runs, public health warnings from toxic algae, and large scale outbreaks of fish-killing diseases, the dams are looking pretty dirty.

Economic studies show that PacifiCorp can replace these dams with truly renewable energy sources at the same costs as it would take to engineer fish mitigation measures.

Studies and information on Klamath dams, fish, and toxic algae