Petition Water Board for Dam Removal Today!
Dam Removal Update
The historic effort to Un-Dam the Klamath River has taken many turns since a catastrophic salmon kill in 2002. After years of litigation and negotiation, stakeholders reached a comprehensive set of agreements in 2010 for dam removal, restoration of the whole basin, and water sharing in the upper basin. The agreements expired in 2015 because Congress failed to act. The agreement for dam removal was amended in April 2016 (the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement or KHSA) to no longer be connected to the restoration and water sharing elements of the previous package and therefore no longer requires congressional approval. The amended KHSA calls for dam removal by 2020 and must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Before FERC can act to approve the plan, the California Water Board must issue a Clean Water Act certification to allow dam removal.
The California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will host three public “scoping meetings” in January to provide information about the California water quality certification process for dam removal and to seek public input. This process must be completed before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can approve a Klamath River dam surrender application submitted by PacifiCorp last year pursuant to the amended KHSA. Before issuing a “water quality certification,” the Water Board must complete an Environmental Impact Report that analyzes the positive and negative impacts of dam removal.
A joint California and Federal Environmental Impact Report / Environmental Impact Statement (EIR / EIS) in 2012 concluded that dam removal is in the public interest given the net positive impacts for our water quality, fisheries, regional economies, power customers, and cultural resources. An updated California EIR is required now because dam removal is proceeding according to an amended dam removal agreement – the amended KHSA.
Our Message for Water Board Staff
(1) Please issue a water quality certification for dam removal in time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve dam removal by 2020.
(2) The 2012 joint California and Federal EIR/EIS reached the correct conclusion. The 2012 EIR/EIS was based on an exhaustive set of engineering and environmental studies of dam removal, all of which should be incorporated into the new EIR.
(3) New scientific information produced since 2012 supports the conclusions of the 2012 EIR/EIS.
(4) The Water Board should analyze long-term beneficial impacts of dam removal, not just the near-term adverse impacts addressed in the notice for scoping meetings.
Submitting Written Comments
The CA State Water Resources Control Board will accept written comments until 5PM on February 1. Instructions can be found on page 9 of this document.