Though the outcome will have no tangible result, campaigns for and against Measure G have been saturating Siskiyou County in the form of mailers, campaign signs and letters to the editor for the last few weeks.

Though the outcome will have no tangible result, campaigns for and against Measure G have been saturating Siskiyou County in the form of mailers, campaign signs and letters to the editor for the last few weeks.

Measure G asks Siskiyou County residents whether or not they believe three Klamath Dams and their associated hydroelectric facilities should be removed.

Each camp vehemently defends their position on dam removal, and both claim to have science, economics and common sense on their side.

To remove or not: What’s the fuss?
The Klamath River agreements, including the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement would manage the removal of four dams on the Klamath River and attempt to revitalize the Klamath basin.

Three of the four dams,  including Iron Gate, Copco 1 and Copco 2, are located in Siskiyou County. When we flip the switch to turn on a light in south Siskiyou County, the power we’re using comes from these dams.

Dam removal would begin in 2020, pending approval by the Secretary of the Interior and the outcome of environmental studies and a cost-benefit analysis of the project.

Though a majority of the stakeholders have signed the agreements, the majority of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors have staunchly opposed dam removal from the beginning. To date, Siskiyou County has not signed the Klamath Agreements.

Measure G was proposed to the Board of Supervisors by the Siskiyou County Water Users Association in order to gain insight into the opinion of Siskiyou County residents regarding dam removal.

Supervisors voted on Aug. 6 to include Measure G as an advisory vote on the Nov. 2  ballot.
Though G is strictly an advisory vote and holds no real political weight, those against Measure G hope that a large voter opposition to the measure will factor into the Secretary of the Interior’s decision.

Similarly, those advocating for dam removal hope that a yes vote will end the controversy and encourage the Siskiyou County BOS to support dam removal.

Yes on Measure G:? What they’re saying
Those in the Yes on G camp say that while dam removal was originally proposed to restore the Klamath fisheries, it has since evolved into an agreement which protects the interests of all involved, including farmers, ranchers, power customers, Native American tribes, fisherman and those looking for economic benefits.

“We’ve had to compromise... not everyone got everything they wanted,” said Craig Tucker, Klamath campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe. “These agreements have largely resolved issues between groups that have, for decades, been at each other’s throats.”

Yes on G proponents say the KBRA and KHSA will:

• Create an abundance of jobs, both during the construction phase of dam removal and later, during the continued restoration of the basin – an important point when the current Siskiyou County unemployment rate sits at 15.6 percent.

• Restore the fish populations, which in turn supports regional jobs.

• Ensure sustainable, reliable, predictable irrigation water for agricultural purposes, which again protects jobs.

• Encourage millions of dollars in investments in Siskiyou County. For example, Pacific Power would invest in green technology that would create 1,400 megawatts of renewable energy by 2015. This is 15 times the amount of energy currently produced by the dams.

• Cheaper power bills. Those who advocate for dam removal say the cost of removing them and finding new energy sources would be cheaper than relicensing the Klamath dams. They point out that Pacificorp – the owner of the dams – has already signed the agreements.

 • Proponents of Measure G say dam removal will not happen if it’s found to be harmful during the course of studies which are required in the KBRA.

No on Measure G: What they’re saying

Those against dam removal have several reasons they believe the KBRA and the KHSA will not benefit Siskiyou County, including:

• The loss of clean, green, renewable energy for approximately 70,000 customers. Power rates will go up to pay for dam removal and to purchase more expensive sources of power that would most likely be less green.

• Loss of property values for approximately 1,600 shorefront property owners along the Klamath River. They’d be deprived of shorefront property, water access, and lake views and would suffer until the areas are revegetated.

• Loss of approximately $1 million per year in tax revenue generated through property taxes and taxes paid on electricity generated by the dams.

• Sediments. They contend that an estimated 20 million yards of sediment currently trapped behind the dams will be flushed downriver, adversely affecting the fish population.

 • Loss of flood control the dams currently provide. Those opposed to dam removal believe taking them out will result in major loss of lives and property.

• It’s bad policy. Those against dam removal believe it’s irresponsible to expend this amount of money at a time  of economic crisis.

For more information about No on Measure G, visit the website www.klamathbasincrisis.org. For more on Yes on G, visit www.yesonquestiong.com