by Katy Grimes, E&E Legal Senior Media Fellow and California Globe Editor
As Appearing in the California Globe
‘When politically expedient, the governors of California and Oregon will turn a blind eye to dramatic and substantial environmental damages’
Last week California Governor Gavin Newsom announced final approval of a plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California, along with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Congressman Jared Huffman and leaders of the Yurok and Karuk tribes. Newsom refers to the dam removal project as “transformative” and says “it will revitalize nearly 400 miles of the Klamath River and tributaries.”
The location of the four dams straddle the Oregon-California border.
This has been a long time coming and and has been fought over by many groups as well as by members of Congress. In 2020, the Globe reported, “The plan calls for the demolition of the dams and management of the watershed lands by the non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC). Rep. Doug La Malfa (R-CA) calls the KRRC a ‘shell corporation’ for the Karuk and Yurok Indian tribes who have no experience or capacity to handle the immense legal liabilities of such a project.”
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to help the federally-operated Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California, the Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and California and the Columbia River Basin system in the Pacific Northwest. “We will resolve the issues blocking the completion of the Central Valley project,” Trump said. “I hope you enjoy the water that you’re going to have.”
“The President’s announcement is an immense relief for the farmers and families of the San Joaquin Valley and communities across California,” said Rep. Tom McClintock. “Due to the actions of environmental extremists and overzealous bureaucrats, California has been suffering from a years-long water crisis that has wreaked havoc in Central Valley farming communities that feed tens of millions of Americans. Productive land has gone fallow and farmworkers have lost their jobs. Communities across California have also been devastated as senseless government regulations have mandated that billions of gallons of water be flushed out to the ocean and wasted.”