Memorandum of agreement brings Klamath Dam removal a step closer to being a reality

video

KLAMATH, Calif. (KIEM) — One step closer to removing the Klamath Dams after an agreement is reached between the states of California and Oregon, the Yurok and Karuk tribes, and PacifiCorp. 

The fight for dam removal has spanned decades, but a recent memorandum of agreement offers solutions to issues raised by the federal energy regulatory commission that have prevented the project from moving forward. Now, there’s support from a big corporation.

“It was the first time in this entire campaign that we have ever gotten, or Berkshire Hathaway-Pacificorp has actually ever gone on the record and openly said they support dam removal,” according to Yurok Vice Chairman Frankie Myers.

An amended license surrender application was filed Tuesday and is needed to decommission the dams. California, Oregon, and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation have requested to be co-licensees for the project. If that’s approved, would remove Berkshire Hathaway owned PacifiCorp from the license. It also added another $45 million dollars to the $450 million dollars already set aside.

“We were able to come up with another $45 million. $15 million from California, $15 million from Oregon, and an additional $15 million directly from Berkshire Hathaway,” Myers says.

According to Myers, work has already begun, and tribal leaders feel confident about the path forward.

“We have crews, boots on the ground, right now at the dam surveying it and starting the work. It’s a bit of processing in the next two months, then after that it’s preparing for implementation and removal,” Myers adds.

The federal government still needs to approve the transfer of the license and also the dam removal plan. If this happens, the project should be allowed to move forward beginning in 2022.