Docket Nos. P-14803-001, P-2082-063
Commission Staff prepared a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the surrender, decommissioning, and removal of project works of the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project No. 14803.
On November 17, 2020, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation and PacifiCorp filed an amended application for surrender of the license and removal of project works for the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project, located on the Klamath River in Klamath County, Oregon, and in Siskiyou County, California. The project occupies approximately 400 acres of federal land administered by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and consists of four developments: J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2, and Iron Gate.
The Commission issued a license for the original Klamath Hydroelectric Project No. 2082, in January 1954. The license expired in 2006, and in 2004, PacifiCorp filed an application to relicense the project. Filing of the surrender application follows PacifiCorp’s decision not to relicense the Klamath Project, as recommended in Commission staff’s 2007 EIS in which staff analyzed various alternatives to licensing the project, but ultimately recommended issuing a new license with mandatory conditions, including provisions for fish passage. PacifiCorp determined that implementing those conditions would require operating the project at a loss. Since 2007, negotiations among the parties have led to the development of two transfer applications, an amendment application to create the Lower Klamath Project, and the amended surrender application.
The primary issues associated with license surrender and removal of project works are: potential effects on aquatic biota, including Chinook salmon, Endangered Species Act-listed coho salmon and suckers, and other fish and wildlife species; adequacy of measures proposed to restore vegetation on formerly inundated lands; effects on riverine and reservoir-based recreation; effects on local property owners due to effects on waterfront access, wells, firefighting/prevention, slope stability, reservoir aesthetics, and property values, as well as effects on traffic, emergency response times, air quality, and noise during construction; effects of dewatering on culturally important sites and removal of historic project features; and socioeconomic effects on disadvantaged communities. A draft EIS was made available on February 25, 2022.
Commission staff have addressed comments filed on the draft EIS and modified the document where appropriate. In the final EIS, Commission staff recommends the staff alternative, which consists of mitigation measures included in the application, as well as mandatory conditions made by state and federal agencies, and additional measures developed by Commission staff.