In September 2016, PacifiCorp and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation submitted two applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking to transfer and surrender PacifiCorp’s hydropower license.

The County of Siskiyou recently issued the following press release:


In September 2016, PacifiCorp and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation submitted two applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking to transfer and surrender PacifiCorp’s hydropower license.

 
Together, these applications propose to transfer, decommission, and remove four dams on the Klamath River: JC Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2, and Iron Gate.   In November of 2016, the County submitted its initial comments on these applications, requesting that the Commission reject both applications outright based on the significant deficiencies the County identified and based on the applications failing to comply with the Commission’s regulations.

 
Since that time, FERC has made supplemental information requests to PacifiCorp and KRRC, asking that they answer inquiries and provide additional information related to their applications. It is the County’s understanding that KRRC will continue to work on its responses through the calendar year. The County intends to continue to actively monitor the FERC process and will be engaging in comment submissions to FERC as opportunities arise. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and County staff, with support of outside counsel, have also actively monitored and engaged in related proceedings and meetings before the California Public Utilities Commission and the California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board). The County submitted comments to the Water Board during their most recent public commenting process on their development of an Environmental Impact Report for the water quality certification process needed for KRRC’s proposed decommissioning. In addition, Siskiyou County is actively reaching out to its state and federal representatives, as well as the Trump Administration, to seek political support for addressing the County’s concerns related to dam removal.  


KRRC has made outreach efforts to members of the Board and to Siskiyou County staff to provide updates on their processes. Siskiyou County continues to stress to KRRC its economic and environmental concerns, its concerns about the uncertainty of KRRC’s ability to bear responsibility for any damages that would result from dam removal, and the need for full and transparent research and updated studies. Siskiyou County is also urging the agencies responsible for approval of KRRC’s requests, including the Water Board and FERC, to fully consider alternatives to dam removal, which the County has provided detail on.


On Tuesday, an informational meeting on the Klamath dam issue will be held in Yreka. Alan Mikkelsen, acting deputy commissioner of the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and representatives of the KRRC will be present to provide information on KRRC’s request to transfer the dams and allow for their decommissioning. The meeting is at Winema Hall at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds from 5:30–7:30 p.m.


The County hopes this will provide the public with an additional opportunity to stay informed and engaged. KRRC has also expressed that they will be hosting several public outreach forums, and will inform the County once dates and locations have been finalized. During future coordination and public meetings with KRRC, the County will continue to address the following concerns related to potential dam removal: 20-30 million cubic yards of sediment release, risk of catastrophic floods, inability to provide pulse flows for fisheries benefit, property value loss in the areas around Iron Gate and Copco Dams, County tax base loss, and funding loss to Siskiyou County schools.


If members of the public have any questions, would like information related to the proposed dam removal, or would like more information regarding the County’s efforts regarding the proposals, please visits the Siskiyou County Natural Resources web-page at http://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/page/natural-resources. Additionally, information can be obtained by contacting Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou County Natural Resource Policy Specialist, at enielsen@co.siskiyou.ca.us or (530) 842-8012.