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Hoopa Valley Tribe wins lawsuit against aging Klamath River dams and PacifiCorp

According to the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the federal court of appeals Friday unanimously sided with the Hoopa Valley Tribe, ruling that FERC, the states of California and Oregon, and PacifiCorp can no longer stall dam license conditions to protect fish.

Mandatory conditions and prescriptions for fish passage and water flows followed in 2007, but the tribe says they have been disregarded to date because of delays by the State Water Board, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and FERC.

“This case shows that states must not ignore the rights and interests of tribes with co-management authority regarding fisheries,” said Hoopa Tribal Chairman Ryan Jackson. Further, Jackson noted that “present conditions in the Klamath River, the 2nd largest river system in California, are on the verge of ecologic collapse given the chronic and degraded water quality in the Klamath River caused by operation of the PacifiCorp owned dams under the antiquated conditions contained in its expired 1956 FERC license.”

The Hoopa Valley Tribe’s appeal has no immediate effect on the separate effort by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) to obtain the license for the Lower Klamath Project, surrender it, and remove the dams. However, they say that the effort is faltering.

The tribe states that the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) places a cap on PacifiCorp customer, State, and federal contributions to dam removal costs, adding that the delays in the KRRC preparations are escalating the costs.

Also, the tribe states that the amended KHSA provides for an abeyance in re-licensing proceedings while the KRRC’s surrender application is pending. The court ruling, the tribe says may expedite action on the KRRC request or may force PacifiCorp to withdraw its flawed application for re-licensing of the Lower Klamath Project.

For further information, please contact Ryan Jackson, Chairman, 530 625-4211; Michael Orcutt, Fisheries Director, 530 625-4267, or Tom Schlosser, attorney, 206 386 5200.

Source: https://krcrtv.com/north-coast-news/eureka-local-news/hoopa-valley-tribe-wins-lawsuit-against-aging-klamath-river-dams-and-pacifico

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