Recently PacifiCorp quietly submitted a plan to apply toxins for the second year to Klamath River reservoirs as an algae killing experiment. River users, including fisherman and Native American Tribes unanimously oppose this action citing last year’s studies that show killing the algae actually releases the algae toxin, microcystin, at a time of year when people are in the Klamath River.
Levels of microcystin behind PacifiCorp's dams have consistently been up to 3000 times over the World Health Organization limits for recreation contact. This has lead to the entire river below the reservoirs has been declared a health hazard every late summer for the past five years. Studies, commissioned through the Klamath dam relicensing process have proven the reservoirs create the algae.
The fact is it is time for PacifiCorp to move forward with needed Clean Water Act certification to remove their dams, which create the algae problem. PacifiCorp has stated publicly they want to remove the dams, but have not taken any needed legal actions to support dam removal in years.
PacifiCorp’s has stated this proposal is part of an experiment proposed under interim measures of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). The KHSA is tied to Klamath water sharing legislation that died in the last Congress. Last year PacifiCorp did a simalr experiment without giving any notification of the chemical use to river users, or initiating public comment. This has lead parties to the KHSA that oppose chemical use in the Klamath River to initiate a conflict resolution process available for those who signed the agreement. However PacifiCorp has indicated they have no plans to initiate a public comment period or to notify the public of when the chemicals will be used.
This has lead to claims that PacifiCorp is using stalled out agreements to essentially make the Klamath a corporately controlled river. Needed Clean Water Act processes and other environmental regulations have been stalled by the promise of Klamath legislation for nearly a decade. It is time to move forward with dam removal