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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Central Valley | North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense
CA State Water Board Scoping hearing for 401 permit with PacifiCorp
The California State Water Board held a series of scoping meetings on PacifiCorp's Klamath Hydroelectric Project (KHP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Scoping Meeting held in Sacramento on June 29, 2008, was sparsely attended by staff for the water board, their hired consultant from Entrix, Inc and half way through the meeting one board member showed up to hear public comments.
For the last four years, Warren Buffett's PacifiCorp's Klamath dams have created one of the worst toxic algae problems ever recorded, threatening the public health of rural residents and California's three largest Native Tribes.
The California State Water Board held a series of scoping meetings on PacifiCorp's Klamath Hydroelectric Project (KHP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR). PacifiCorp owns and operates the, consisting of eight facilities: East Side, West Side, Keno, J.C. Boyle in south-eastern Oregon, and Copco 1, Copco 2, Iron Gate, and Fall Creek in north-eastern California. All the facilities, with the exception of Fall Creek, are located on the mainstem of the Klamath River, while Fall Creek is located on the tributary to Iron Gate Reservoir.
The Scoping Meeting held in Sacramento on June 29, 2008, was sparsely attended by staff for the water board, their hired consultant from Entrix, Inc and half way through the meeting one board member showed up to hear public comments regarding the California Environmental Quality Act's Environmental Impact Report for Klamath Hydroelectric Project #2082 relating to the 401 Water Quality Certification process.
A number of tribal members affected by the dams on the Klamath spoke from their hearts and told a story of an extremely sick river in need of damn removal. One tribal member brought a five gallon container of the river that appeared to be infested with algae and essentially is inhabitable except to toxic microorganisms.
PacifiCorp has applied to the State Water Board for a Dirty Water Act Section 401 water quality certification for the KHP. The State Water Board is supposed to comply with CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to issuing any certification. The existing license expired on March 1, 2006, and the KHP is operating under an annual license.
Staff members and the consultant looked dismayed when reminded that Vice-President Cheney played a role in the 2006 fish kill that occurred on the Klamath River by having water flows on the Klamath turned down ultimately leading to the death of thousands of fish. The tribal members acknowledged thanks for turning up the water flows to flush out the dead fish back in 2006, thereby ridding the communities of the stench from the historic fish kill. Short term memory or a failure on the staff's part to acknowledge the seriousness of the issues involved came to mind while observing those working for the state attending the hearing.
Avoid Water Contact in Iron Gate and Copco Reservoirs
Due to high levels of blue-green algae that can produce harmful toxins.
*Do not use this water for drinking or cooking.
*Do no consume fish livers or digestive organs, and wash fillets with drinking water.
Children and pets are at greatest risk.
Richard Meyers spoke, followed by his daughter who told of family members no longer wishing to perform ceremonies in the river because of the toxicity that exists in the Klamath.
Gentleman spoke about that the preponderance of the evidence is that this 401 permit should be denied. If the court weighed in on this issue, the evidence would clearly demonstrate the failure of the river's ecosystem.