September 23, 2016
Today the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) filed two applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), taking a significant step towards implementation of an agreement to decommission four dams on the Klamath River. One application, filed jointly with PacifiCorp, asks FERC to transfer PacifiCorp’s licenses to operate the four dams in California and Oregon to the KRRC. The second application asks FERC to approve dam decommissioning and removal. Under the agreement, the KRRC would oversee dam removal which, if approved, would begin in 2020. PacifiCorp will continue to operate the dams until they are decommissioned.
FERC and other regulatory agencies will conduct public hearings on the applications over the coming years. In the course of these proceedings, the public will be encouraged to participate and give comments for consideration in the final decisions.
Filing the applications with FERC is an initial milestone outlined in the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). The KHSA, as amended in April 2016, provides the roadmap for the decommissioning and removal of four hydroelectric dams on the 373-mile Klamath River and calls for the creation of the KRRC to oversee the process. A diverse set of stakeholders have agreed to a shared vision of the future of the Klamath basin: to date, the 2016 KHSA has been signed by the United States Department of the Interior, the United States the Department of Commerce, the states of California and Oregon, the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, PacifiCorp, nine conservation and fishing groups, and other interested parties. When complete, the KRRC’s efforts will result in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history.
Mike Carrier, President of the KRRC Board said: “The KRRC’s FERC filings are an important step towards realizing the vision of a restored Klamath River. Today’s actions bring the vast environmental benefits that will stem from dam removal closer to reality.”
“The KRRC is now up and running. Through the FERC regulatory process, the KRRC will demonstrate it has the legal, financial, and technical capacity to become the licensee for four Klamath hydroelectric dams and oversee decommissioning activities,” said Lester Snow, Vice President of the KRRC Board.
Sarah Kamman, Vice President and general counsel of Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp said: “PacifiCorp looks forward to working with the KRRC and our other settlement partners to implement this important agreement. We continue to believe the KHSA is a fair way forward and in the interest of our electricity customers.”
The four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River produce hydroelectric power. Federal environmental agencies recommended that the dams need to be retrofitted to provide fish passage for salmon, steelhead, and other fish. The Oregon and California public utility commissions found that decommissioning the dams via the KHSA was a prudent alternative for PacifiCorp’s customers.
More information and copies of the applications may be found at the KRRC’s website: klamathrenewal.org.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2016 as part of the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). KRRC is part of a cooperative effort to re-establish the natural vitality of the Klamath River so that it can support all communities in the basin. Signatories of the amended KHSA incude the states of California and Oregon, local governments, tribal nations, dam owner PacifiCorp, irrigators, and several conservation and fishing groups. KRRC was formed for the sole purpose of taking ownership of four PacifiCorps dams — J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1 & 2, and Iron Gate – and then removing these dams, restoring formerly inundated lands, and implementing required mitigation measures in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. KRRC’s work is funded by PacifiCorp customer surcharges and California Proposition 1 water bond funds.
KRRC values transparency and cooperation with all stakeholders and is committed to working with residents and governments to minimize any nuisance or negative impacts while enhancing the project’s local benefits.