Rep. Huffman of California Asks FERC to Approve Klamath Dam Removal

On October 12th, Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Ranking Member on the Water Power, and Oceans Subcommitte on the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), urging FERC to approve applications which would allow the transfer of four aging hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to the nonprofit group Klamath River Renewal Corp. (“KRRC”) prior to being demolished. The applications were filed in September by PacifiCorp, which currently owns the four dams located in California and Oregon, and, KRRC, which was created by the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (“KHSA”). The KHSA, signed in April, provides for the decommissioning and removal of the four dams in 2020.

The Klamath River dams have long been associated with fishery and water quality issues, and tribes and environmentalists have advocated for their removal for decades. In his letter, Huffman argued that removing the dams would result in improved water quality, improved habitat for coho salmon, and help fulfill the government’s trust obligation to Native American tribes. Huffman also praised the KRRC, stating that its board “is made up of highly qualified representatives of the states, tribes, fishing, and environmental groups with vast experience in natural resources, law and finance.” The KRRC currently has $450 million in funding secured for the removal project, and the ability to draw on more funding.