Letter of May 2, 2006, to Chair of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding relicensing of PacifiCorp’s four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River

Dear Honorable Members of Congress:

This letter is on behalf of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Siskiyou, which is the county where three of the four hydroelectric dams that need to be relicensed are located.

The County has been deeply involved in this process and the issues involving the Klamath.  Because of our interest, deep involvement, and commitment to these issues, I need to respond to your attached letter of May 2, 2006, to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and specifically to attempt to share with you information that may assist you in developing a deeper appreciation of the matter and of the County’s concerns.

While the County’s position continues to be one of opposition to dam removal, it does not object to activities which may seek to introduce anadromous fish above the dams.  However, the County strongly believes that all reasonable means/options short of dam removal should be fully explored before the expensive option of dam removal is pursued.  If the dam removal option were to be found to be in the public interest and the decision made to seek removal and funding for removal, we submit that this decision should only be on the basis that all reasonable efforts have been made to insure that all the impacts and the interests of the County and its constituents are identified and fully satisfied prior to or concurrent with any agreement being made with the owners of the dams to decommission, remove, and deconstruct the dams.  

In this regard, we commend you for recognizing the possible tax loss consequences to Siskiyou County if decommissioning or deconstruction were to occur.   However, we also wish to bring to your attention that there are many additional  impacts beyond just tax revenue losses and that we have been asking  to have funds made available to finance a dam removal impact assessment study prior to any decisions being made to decommission, remove and deconstruct dams.    Those presently reasonably foreseeable impacts and possible means to alleviate these impacts include, but are not limited to, the following:

            Property tax revenue losses to the County of Siskiyou and other tax revenue entities, including school districts;

            Property value depreciation resulting from the loss of lakefront property;

            Flood damage losses;

            Loss of recreational values and Wild and Scenic River values;

            Potential loss of shoreline or stream access;

            Potential unsightly or nuisance development resulting from lack of adequate and speedy reclamation resulting from the physical damage and recession of water occurring from/after dam removal unless immediate rehabilitation and restoration work is planned to occur immediately or relatively concurrent with dam removal and is fully funded in advance of any dam removal agreements or removal;

            Job set-asides for residents of Siskiyou County for employment

            opportunities resulting from dam decommissioning/dam    reconstruction activities;

            Creation of economic stimulus financing;

            Development of economic development/public works projects such as biomass and other public works in the County of Siskiyou to ameliorate potential economic/employment loss from dam removal;

            Creation of a fund to support long-term loan revolving funds;

            Procedures be developed to fund the impacts at a level reasonably certain to fully address the impacts;

            Any funding for dam removal should contain sufficient funds to reasonably address impacts of dam removal.

It is further the County’s position that all of the stakeholders’ interests, not just those seeking to have dams removed, be addressed concurrently, and that sufficient funds be made available to address these issues in order to alleviate any concerns on the part of any of the stakeholders who fear that, once the objective of dam removal has been achieved, here will be no incentive to fund and fully address the remaining issues and concerns. 

Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.   We would be happy to discuss these issues with you within the bounds of any existing confidentiality agreements.

Very truly yours,
Marcia H. Armstrong, Chair
Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors     
 P.O. Box 750 l 201 Fourth Street
(530) 842-8005
Yreka, California 96097  FAX (530) 842-8013

Siskiyou County Web Site

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This letter sent to
Honorable Sam Farr

Member of Congress
Honorable Mike Thompson

Member of Congress
Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Member of Congress
Honorable Peter DeFazio

Member of Congress
Honorable Lynn Woolsey

Member of Congress
Honorable George Miller

Member of Congress
Honorable Lois Capps

Member of Congress
Honorable Tom Lantos

Member of Congress
Honorable Anna Eshoo

Member of Congress
Honorable Michael Honda

Member of Congress
Honorable Earl Blumenauer

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