A pair of applications filed by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts into official motion a long-standing plan to remove four hydroelectric plants on the Klamath River.
Slated for removal are the 90-MW J.C. Boyle, 20-MW Copco, 1.27-MW Copco 2 and 18-MW Iron Gate that together constitute the PacifiCorp-owned Klamath hydropower project, which snakes 373 miles through southern Oregon to northern California.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation's first filing was made jointly with PacifiCorp and asks FERC to transfer licenses to operate all four plants from the utility to the KRRC. PacifiCorp has operated the project on an annual basis since 2006, when its original license issued in 1954 expired.
Meanwhile, the KRRC's second filing seeks FERC permission to decommission and remove the dams.
"Filing these applications is an initial milestone outlined in the 2016 Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement," a joint release said. "A diverse set of stakeholders have agreed to a shared vision of the future of the Klamath basin. To date, the 2016 KHSA has been signed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce, the states of California and Oregon, the Karuk and Yurok tribes, PacifiCorps, nine conservation and fishing groups, and other interested parties.
"When complete, the KRRC's efforts will result in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history."
FERC and other agencies will now hold public hearings on the applications. If approved, the removal process would begin in 2020.
"The KRRC is now up and running, and through the FERC regulatory process, the KRRC will demonstrate it has the legal, financial and technical capacity to become the licensee for four Klamath hydroelectric dams and oversee decommissioning activities," KRRC board vice president Lester Snow said.
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