Government funds buyout of Naches Dam for dam removal due to environmental group's petition
from Gary Wiggins
ESAinfo has learned of a very real, story that demonstrates our concern
about the future certainty of energy production (and other land use)
in this country. This is a story of how the Endangered Species Act
ESAinfo did a story on February 5th this year about how the Washington
State Department of
Here is what we didn't know in February: The plant is being removed
due to a petition from an environmental group called American
Rivers (based in Washington D.C.) to the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Records
and Information Management System (RIMS). The main reason is that
about every two decades FERC permits are required for hydropower plants
along navigatable rivers . The Naches project was never required to
This testimony reveals that Pacificorp would not be able to afford to keep the Naches Project open with the new FERC permit required by American River's petition.
Here is what an inside source reveals to ESAinfo: The real tragedy
of this entire thing is that the Bureau of Reclamation has agreed
to pay PacifiCorp approximately $8.5 million for the Naches plant
(Wapatox). Most of the
So here we have Federal and State Funds being utilized for the deal. The negotiations between PacifiCorp and the Bureau have all been behind closed doors with both sides signing a confidentiality agreement.
An interesting twist is that the Yakima Nation really wanted this buyout to happen. They had filed with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for up to $4 million to assist in the buyout and BPA denied funding for the request. This happened last summer. The Bureau and the state came up with the money anyway. When I heard about the proposed buyout I did a bit of research myself by looking into the FERC website and found that American Rivers has petitioned FERC that they had jurisdiction over the Project and that it needed to be licensed. ESA and Ecosystem restoration are part of the drivers.
ESAinfo Summary: In closing we are amazed that public money is being released so secretly. It was only January 28th that the public was informed of the deal in the newspaper. We checked this last (March 10th) at Pacificorp, and discovered to our surprise, that Pacificorp has already been paid the majority of $8.5M just last week! Like they say in the Majors, In ain't over till its over !
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