Guest Opinion published November 9, 2017, Siskiyou Daily News
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently in the process of evaluating applications to allow the transfer of ownership of four hydro-electric dams along the Klamath River, three of which are located in Siskiyou County. If approved, the new owner would become the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), a newly-formed Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, whose assets are unknown. The intended purpose of this transfer is that KRRC, the transferee, would decommission the dams and remove them.
In its own Articles of Incorporation, filed with the Secretary of State, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation lists among its purposes the following:
“…The Corporation is formed and shall be operated exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code … to lessen the burdens of government by facilitating the implementation of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement … between and among the United States Department of the Interior, the United States Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service, PacifiCorp, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California National Resources Agency, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Water Resources Department … all in a manner as determined by the Corporation’s Board of Directors.”
It would appear that this scheme, if approved, would not only divest PacifiCorp of the ownership of the dams, but more importantly would divest PacifiCorp and just about every federal and state governmental agency we can think of, of the RESPONSIBILITY for whatever consequences may result downstream from the removal of the dams.
This is scary stuff.
The Siskiyou County Water Users Association recently filed a petition with FERC to “Intervene” in the FERC proceeding. This simply means that the Association is asking the federal agency for the opportunity to be heard during the process. I am not a member of the Water Users Association, but I support its petition. Also, I appreciated the front page article SDN Editor David Smith wrote in last Friday’s edition regarding the Association’s petition. It was factual and news, not opinion. Unlike the editors of most big-city newspapers these days, Mr. Smith gets the difference.
I admit that what I am writing here is definitely opinion, not news.
I ask this question: How can it be a “charitable” purpose to release PacifiCorp and state and federal bureaucrats from responsibility for whatever might happen when all the sediment that has accumulated behind the dams is released down the river?