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New Development in Condit Dam Removal (WA)

Posted: 07/20/2006
By: Thomas O'Keefe

As reported in today's issue of the Columbian, Klickitat PUD has announced their intention to acquire the Condit Dam on the White Salmon by eminent domain (read full article). This dam has aged beyond its useful lifespan and would require significant investments to bring it up to modern safety and environmental standards. PacifiCorp, a private utility focused on the most economic course of action, decided to decommission the project, remove the dam, and restore the White Salmon as a free-flowing river. Indeed an independent study commissioned by the Klickitat PUD in 2002 came to the same conclusion that the small amount of power generated by this project would not justify the cost of repairing and modernzing it.

Andrew Fahlund, Vice President for Conservation at American Rivers was quoted as saying, "The Klickitat PUD is doing their customers a great disservice by even pursuing this. It would be like Microsoft going after a typewriter company. They are going after something that is antiquated and run down."

Despite the significant cost to local ratepayers, the Klickitat PUD appears ready to forge ahead. The cost of acquiring this project is not limited to the physical upgrades required at the dam as any new utility would be required to go through the FERC licensing process.

AW signed the Settlement Agreement for dam removal (see article) because we believe the future public benefits of a restored river significantly outweigh the costs of trying to repair the dam (see Lower White Salmon description). AW Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, Thomas O'Keefe stated, "we will continue our efforts to strongly support the Settlement Agreement for removal and will vigorously oppose any efforts initiated by a new utility seeking a new license for this project." PacifiCorp has indicated that they will continue working towards dam removal which is currently scheduled for 2008.

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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