Dam removal delay

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The proposed removal of four dams from the Klamath River could begin later than expected.

The John C. Boyle, Copco 1 and 2, and Irongate dams are all targeted for removal.

A group of about 40 people attended a meeting at Oregon Tech Tuesday evening for updates on the effort.

Dave Meurer is community liaison from the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

“It’s a non-profit organization.”  Explains Meurer.  “It was created by Pacificorp, the state of Oregon, the state of California, and several other signatories to be the dam removal entity for the four dams on the Klamath River.”

While dam removal was originally scheduled to get underway in 2020, Meurer says there have been delays.  “We anticipate being in the water and doing dam removal in January and February of 2021.”

Not everyone is behind dam removal.

72% of Klamath County voters said ‘no’ to dam removal in 2016, while 78% of Siskiyou County voters said ‘no’ in 2011.

Meurer says part of his job is clearing up misconceptions.  “Folks are under the impression that it’s cheaper and they’ll save money on their electricity bills if the dams stay, and exactly the opposite is true.”

Meurer adds no final decisions have been made on whether or not the dams will come out.  “The momentum is certainly there, but the last stop is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

The cost of decommissioning and removing the dams is estimated at $450,000,000.

Those costs are covered through a surcharge on Oregon Pacific Power bills, and passage of a California bond measure.

You can find more information on the Klamath River Renewal Corporation online:  www.klamathrenewal.org

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