California Tribe Asks Feds to Stop Licensing Klamath Dams

May 30, 2012

A California American Indian tribe Tuesday asked federal regulators to order the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The tribe says a restoration plan for the river is stalled.

The Klamath River runs through the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s reservation. The tribe says the four dams upriver contribute to toxic algae blooms and salmon diseases. Power company PacifiCorp owns the dams and has signed a deal that would remove them by 2020.

Thomas Schlosser is an attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. He says the tribe doubts Congress will ever approve the current dam removal deal. “That legislation isn’t going to pass. It subordinates Indian water rights. It costs 800 million bucks. And it has a whole lot of other controversial provisions.”

The tribe wants federal regulators to stop extending PacifiCorp’s license to operate the dams. Bob Gravely, a spokesman for PacifiCorp, says the plan to remove the dams by 2020 is still on track.