It just doesn’t add up. Why would environmental and fishing organizations which appeared to hold several trump cards in the formal system of dam licensing (see Klamath Dams Trump Cards section at the end of this post), decide to go outside that formal process and into a secret negotiation with Klamath Dam owners (PacifiCorp) over the dams’ fate? And why would they continue with that strategy even after they have been totally excluded from those secret negotiations at the insistence of PacifiCorp?
The answer to the first question is no secret: enviros and fishing organizations were urged to negotiate with PacifiCorp outside the formal dam licensing process by representatives of Trout Unlimited and
Answering the second question – why enviro and fishing groups meekly accept exclusion – is more difficult to answer. Members of the organizations involved are encouraged to ask the leaders of the organizations to provide answers.
But one set of possible justifications for inaction do not hold up and should not be accepted. The organizations which want the dams out are not limited to setting up front organizations (who is the Klamath Justice Coalition really?) to protest at PacifiCorp HQ in
While some of the organizations are pressuring the California Water Quality Board to insist that clean water (401) license certification hearings proceed for the dams, no one is taking action to force an end to current ongoing violation of water quality laws by the dams and in the reservoirs. Violations of water quality laws occurring now include impacts below Iron Gate Dam, in
The Klamath Forest Alliance organized Klamath Riverkeeper because these water quality violations were not being addressed. KFA wanted KR to force the responsible agencies to address water quality violations in the Klamath, Shasta and Scott Rivers. Now independent, Klamath Riverkeeper boasts about its funding and clean water lawyers (including KR president Daniel Cooper of
Can the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission legally grant temporary licenses year after year for PacifiCorp to continue operating the dams as they please even though the dams are clearly and by admission violating existing laws? Even if FERC can legally grant the licenses is it not required by law to modify operations to lessen the resulting illegal impacts? Why hasn’t the California Hydropower Coalition or one of the other Klamath dam opponents taken action to force FERC to either stop granting these “temporary” licenses or at least to modify dam operation to minimize negative impacts? And what about NEPA? Has FERC complied with NEPA when it granted these temporary licenses?
- Enforce the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) now!
The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is one of the laws to which PacifiCorp must comply. Studies conducted as part of PacifiCorp’s Klamath dam license application found that the
These are three avenues which dam opponents could use to push for positive change, regain the initiative and force PacifiCorp to negotiate directly with them. There are other methods to do these things as well.
Why are those organizations collecting millions of dollars to “Save the Klamath” not doing these things? What exactly are they doing instead and why? If you ask them about these approaches they will likely venture the opinion that such challenges might not succeed. But this is true of all advocacy. Will the protests later this month in
Klamath Dam Trump Cards include:
· The National Environmental Policy Act
· The Public Trust rights of people and salmon
· Tribal water rights
Are you aware of other Klamath Dam Trump Cards? Share them – and your other thoughts – by filing a KlamBlog comment here. Just click on “comments” in the white section below this post.