A plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon has been endorsed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), newswires have reported.
The endorsement came at a meeting on Thursday (5 May), where the CPUC granted dam owner PacifiCorp a rate increase of 2% for its customers in California to help pay for the removal project, the Associated Press reports.
The removal is a key part of two historic agreements signed last year: the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Agreement (KBHA).
The goal of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement is to restore and sustain wild fish populations to support in-river and ocean fishing industries and to establish reliable water and power supplies for agricultural and the natural environment.
The Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Agreement laid out the process for additional studies, environmental review to inform a decision by the US Secretary of the Interior regarding whether or not the removal of the four dams owned by PacifiCorp is necessary and in the public interest. The KHSA is based on the Agreement in Principle reached between PacifiCorp, Oregon, California, and the federal government in November of 2008. It provides for funding up to US$200M in dam removal costs by collecting a surcharge from PacifiCorp’s Oregon and California customers over the next 10 years.