Klamath River Basin stakeholders have negotiated a Settlement Agreement that lays out the steps and criteria for removing the lower four Klamath River dams. This is the most ambitious and large scale dam removal effort in U.S. History.
The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, or KHSA, lays out the process for conducting necessary additional studies, environmental reviews, and a decision by the Secretary of the Interior as to whether 1) removal of the lower four dams on the Klamath River owned by PacifiCorp will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath Basin, and 2) removal of the dams is in the interest of Tribes, local communities, and the general public. The Hydroelectric Settlement includes provisions for the interim operation of the dams prior to dam removal as well as the process to transfer, decommission, and remove the dams.
Existing studies by a variety of agencies and scientists, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission, indicate that dam removal is not only the best way to advance fisheries restoration and improve water quality, but is cheaper than relicensing the aging facilities which would require millions of dollars in upgrades in order get a new license. Even dam owner PacifiCorp agrees that under terms of the KBRA, ratepayers pay less than they would if the dams were upgraded and relicensed (PacifiCorp Statement).
The KHSA establishes 2020 as the target date for dam removal. This timeline allows for completion of necessary environmental and regulatory reviews and the collection of $200 million for dam removal from PacifiCorp customers - far less than they would otherwise pay to relicense the facilities.
The KHSA is the companion agreement to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. It is the two Agreements together that address the needs of the river through dam removal, enhanced in-stream flows, and restoration. At the same time, the two agreements combine to address the economic needs of local communties through water and power security.
- Klamath Agreements Executive Summary
- Top 10 Reasons to Remove Klamath Dams
- What Klamath Agreements Mean for Salmon