Klamath River Dam Removal: Successfully moving forward
A newest update on November 17, 2020 shared that the dam removal project is finally going ahead, after a long and unexpected four month delay. This is a huge win for the local tribes, activists, salmon, and ecosystem overall. For more details, check out the LA Times article here or the press release from International Rivers here.
Original blog post by Bruce Shoemaker for International Rivers is available here
After years of campaigning by tribal and environmental groups, there is an incredible opportunity to remove four dams on the Klamath River in southern California and northern Oregon. This has the possibility of being the largest proposed dam removal project to date world-wide, which could provide a key example for other opportunities to free dammed rivers.
To date, the Klamath dams have severely impacted salmon numbers, produced toxic blue-green algae, and greatly impacted the livelihoods and cultures of tribes.
The four aging dams are currently owned by billionaire Warren Buffet via PacifiCorp. An agreement was made in 2016 between the company, impacted Tribes, California and Oregon, federal agencies, and other organizations to begin the dam removal process. This involved transferring the ownership to the non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation, which is to be responsible for dam removal and related restoration. Removal costs are to be paid for by $250 million in public money from the State of California and another $200 million collected from PacifiCorp ratepayers through a special surcharge.
This pact required the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In July, after an extended review, FERC approved the majority of the agreement with a key exception–PacifiCorp does not get to walk away from all liability. In many ways this is a positive precedent –implying that the public interest is not served by allowing a utility to make a fortune off an environmentally damaging dam and then being able to walk away with no residual liability. However, PacifiCorp is now starting to stall.
Warren Buffett and PacifiCorp are in a position to simultaneously do something extraordinary for one of the great rivers of the West and help right a longstanding environmental injustice while making a very prudent financial decision for their ratepayers and shareholders. PacifiCorp needs to stop delaying and accept the conditions laid down by FERC—now.
We need your help to ensure the timely removal of the Klamath River dams. The more people Warren Buffett and his companies hear from on this issue the better.
HERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Sign the online petition to Warren Buffett HERE
- For more impact, write your own individual letter to Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (contact info below) asking them to have PacifiCorp accept the FERC agreement and proceed with the dam removal process without further delay.
Warren E. Buffett, CEO
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
3555 Farnam Street
Omaha, NE 68131
More information from Bruce Shoemaker for International Rivers is available here