Guest opinion: Claims from "No on G" ignore the facts
We all have a right to our opinion. But, hopefully, important decisions rely on facts, not just opinion. Here are a few among the many examples of No On G’s questionable claims about dam removal:
• “Scott and Shasta River’s water for irrigators are scheduled to sustain Klamath River flows.” (From Dr. R. Gierak’s opinion article in Siskiyou Daily News.) That is simply false. Dr. Gierak, would you please show the public the KBRA language that’s the basis for your claim?
• “Will cause major flooding." (From the No On G mailer.) In fact, PacifiCorp told the Board of Supervisors that the dams provide only a small degree of flood control, and their filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) back that up. No On G, can the public see your facts, please?
• “Millions of dollars in lost taxes.” (From the No On G mailer.) In fact, PacifiCorp told the Board of Supervisors in public testimony that they paid $290,000 in property taxes on the hydroelectric facilities in 2009. That’s less than 2 percent of the property taxes received by the County in fiscal year 2008-2009. PacifiCorp does pay over a million dollars in annual taxes on facilities that won’t be removed. What’s the real impact? Can the public see your economic analysis, please?
• "Will reduce everyone's property values." (From the No on G mailer.) Really? Everyone's? Can the public see your economic analysis on that one, too?
• “A No vote assures cheap electrical power.” (From Dr. R. Gierak’s opinion article in Siskiyou Daily News.) In fact, FERC said that dam removal would be cheaper than retrofitting the dams. No On G, could the public see your economic analysis on that subject too?
Now they are even resurrecting the spotted owl issue from 20 years ago. As US Forest Service analysis showed in the early 1990s, if the federal timber sale program of the 1980s had continued, there would now be many more species on the endangered list, salmon would be in even more difficulty, and thus, the timber and agricultural industries would be even more constrained.
Maybe you wish that environmental laws would go away, and that old dams didn't have to be brought up to standards to get a new federal license. We all have a right to our opinion. But the signers of these agreements, including PacifiCorp, the owner of the dams, are dealing with the facts. The NO on G group seems to be ignoring them.
• During his career with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Phil Detrich of Mount Shasta was appointed by the Bush Administration appointed as their representative on the Klamath Fishery Management Council, and he was executive officer of the Klamath River Task Force, a Congressionally-formed advisory group that worked on Klamath issues. (The 20-year legislation that formed those two groups expired in late 2006; Detrich was involved in those from 2001-2006.) During both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration, he was assigned to all stages of the PacifiCorp Hydro-electric Project re-licensing, as well as the negotiation of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement. Also, for nine years he oversaw the Service’s aquatic habitat restoration programs in the Shasta and Scott Valleys, with our many partners among the agricultural community. He retired from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as of March 1, 2010.