Huffman Celebrates Deal to Keep Klamath Dam Removal on Track

November 17, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) praised a new deal announced today to move forward with removal of four dams on the Klamath River and begin the largest river restoration in United States history.

The negotiated settlement between California, Oregon, the Yurok and Karuk tribes, and dam owner PacifiCorp and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acknowledges that there is no time to wait if Klamath River salmon fisheries are to be revived for tribes and coastal communities. Following months of pressure from tribes, conservationists, and members of Congress, dam license holder PacifiCorp’s parent company Berkshire Hathaway heavily engaged in discussions aimed at ensuring the dams are removed on schedule. Under the terms of today’s deal, PacifiCorp would remain a co-licensee with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation until the dams begin to be removed, after which time the states will assume PacifiCorp’s share of the license.

“I’ve been warning for months that a failure to keep Klamath dam removal on track would not only imperil the cultural and economically vital salmon fisheries on the river, but would irreparably damage Berkshire Hathaway and PacifiCorp’s reputations,” Rep. Huffman said. “It appears that message was received, and Warren Buffet has done the right thing to work with the Yurok and Karuk tribes and the states to get it done. The states’ efforts and willingness to take this on have been nothing short of remarkable.”

Following signs in July that PacifiCorp may walk back its commitment to dam removal, Huffman, Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, held a public forum to examine the terrible impacts the dams have had on salmon and downstream water quality. In September, he successfully offered an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which was approved by the House, to safeguard Tribal communities against further harm to the Klamath River and its ecosystem caused by PacifiCorp’s delays. 

“In the decade since dam removal discussions began in earnest, conditions on the Klamath have only deteriorated, causing real harm to the people and communities I represent,” Huffman said. “I am glad that after years of stalling, Berkshire Hathaway has taken the reins and is moving urgently to repair years of damage to the river and its people. I will continue to watch the progress closely and support these efforts toward a restored Klamath River.”