Rep. Huffman Praises FERC Decision to Clear the Way for Klamath Dam Removal

November 17, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) applauded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision today to issue a license surrender order that clears the way for removal of four Klamath River dams and the largest river restoration effort in history.

“FERC’s decision to retire PacifiCorp’s dams is the result of years of difficult work by our dedicated North Coast tribes, conservationists, the leadership of California and Oregon, and members of Congress,” said Rep Huffman. “Poor conditions on the Klamath River have caused substantial  harm to tribal communities, commercial and sport fishermen, and the economies of California and Oregon. We know other dam removal projects in the West have seen dramatic beneficial responses for fisheries and wildlife, and the Klamath River has tremendous potential to recover and rebuild as this work is done. Congratulations to all of those who have worked to right this wrong and restore balance to the river.”

The order allows the Klamath River Renewal Corporation – a non-profit group that will lead the dam removal effort – and the states of California and Oregon to take over PacifiCorp’s license for the purpose of demolishing the dams. Construction crews will begin preparing the area for dam removal in early 2023 and will remove the Copco 2 dam next year. The remaining dams will be removed all in 2024.

The dams have for decades blocked salmon from reaching hundreds of miles of productive salmon habitat. The shallow reservoirs regularly become choked with toxic algae and cause elevated temperatures downstream. Impaired flows have led to an abundance of disease that often kills most young salmon in the river. Removal of the dams is expected to vastly improve water quality, reduce the presence of fish disease, and reopen vital spawning habitat.

Rep. Huffman has been an active partner in the efforts to remove the Klamath River dams. Following signs in July 2020 that PacifiCorp may walk back its commitment to dam removal, Rep. 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 of that year, 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.