Oregon Public Utility Commission approves transfer of Klamath River dams

SalemOre. — The Oregon Public Utility Commission Tuesday approved an order granting transfer of four dams on the Klamath River and associated property from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

The action by the Oregon PUC follows similar approvals from utility commissions in California, Idaho, and Wyoming, and means that all needed state regulatory reviews are complete for the Klamath dams to be transferred consistent with the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.  State approvals of the transfer also affirm that dam removal under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement remains a good outcome for the company’s electricity customers.  

“This is an important milestone toward full implementation of the Klamath settlement, and one that reflects the dedicated effort of our company, the states of Oregon and California, Klamath Basin Tribes, the KRRC and many other stakeholders to reach today’s outcome,” said Stefan Bird, President and CEO of Pacific Power, the unit of PacifiCorp that serves electricity customers in Oregon, California, and Washington. “It has been a difficult summer in the Klamath Basin due to drought and extreme weather. We hope the successful implementation of the dam removal agreement will help communities in the Basin move toward a broader solution of water-related natural resource conflicts in addition to protecting electricity customers.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in June 2021 approved the transfer of PacifiCorp’s operating license for the dams to the KRRC and the states of Oregon and California. The transfer of the license, and ultimate conveyance of the dams and associated property, will occur when FERC finishes a pending environmental review and approves a separate application from the KRRC to surrender the operating license in order to decommission and remove the dams. Parties to the Klamath dam removal agreement are planning for dam removal to begin in 2023.