DAM REMOVAL LAWSUIT FILED BY ANTHONY INTISO SET FOR TO APRIL 20th
Content Provided By Siskiyou County Water Users
By Richard Marshall
Richard Marshall, President SCWU
I have recently had the opportunity to review the official letter from the Klamath Mitigation Fund which has been sent to selected property owners impacted by the proposed Klamath Hydro Dam Removal. These owners were selected based on criteria established independently by the Fund Administrators.
The criteria used to establish these affected properties were selected based on whether the properties had wells, potential side slope issues around the rim on Copco reservoir or are subject to potential flooding by being in the 100 year flood plain. The criteria established by the Mitigation Fund Board is subjective in nature.
In particular the arbitrary rules eliminate from consideration numerous private properties whose values have been impacted negatively over the years. The criteria eliminates those properties from consideration who are losing a lakeside setting purchased specifically for and whose values are chiefly gained by having such as desirable location. An example, and there are many around Copco Lake, are houses with boating docks, marine oriented homes, people who have invested in patio boats or have businesses related to lake tours. These losses are eliminated from consideration.
As a person who has been involved professionally in administration of public projects and the right of way activities related to property damages caused by the carrying out of public purposes, this process is completely foreign and self-serving on the part of the fund administration. These citizens are having their property values confiscated without redress by a public agency action i.e. the State of California, a co licensee, in the surrender and demolition of the Klamath Hydro electric facilities. In public projects the citizen is usually treated with respect for their property which by the way is governed under the U.S. Constitution Fifth Amendment guaranteeing just compensation. I invite you to take a look at the attached selected pages from the “handbook” just distributed by the contractor operating under the auspices of KRRC and the State of California. Please note the page 5 clause 1 which I have shaded in yellow.
“The fund consists of public funds dedicated to the public purpose of the Klamath Dam removal project. These funds may not be used to compensate property owners for a real or perceived loss in property value that does not involve physical damages. Therefore the Fund Administrators will not provide compensation for these nonphysical impacts.”
Its obvious that the loss of the lakeside settings which have been there for more than a hundred years and for which the Copco development was designed to complement have lost a substantial value both in terms of home value as well as loss of view not to mention the moral and spiritual impact created by this public project. Courts have established that there is value which if it can be demonstrated is compensable with public funds. Look at any highway project, redevelopment project, construction project involving public funds and you will see an established procedure which is not being followed here. Those procedures include appraisals for just compensation to those affected and if they aren’t satisfied then they may select a court process following eminent domain law procedures.
What we see here is a bald face attempt to circumvent basic rules involved in public projects where citizens are being subjected to an egregious process calculated to deprive the citizen public from being compensated for their losses. This is Newsom’s concept of “social justice”
This situation cries out for justice, and it is a situation since the Federal Government is also involved viz a viz the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that Congress needs to address. The State of California being a perpetrator of this “highway robbery” of the affected individuals needs to be reigned in by the Federal Government. The State of California and State of Oregon have chosen to sidestep and avoid the Constitutional requirement of the Compact Clause through the Amended KHSA document of The citizens at Copco Lake, R Ranch, KRCE and those who will be impacted along the corridor of the Klamath River need the support and championing of their plight not of their own choosing but rather a lot chosen for them by public entities operating in a cavalier fashion to deprive them of just compensation.
Siskiyou County Water Users Association
Richard Marshall, President
Attachments from Mitigation Fund Document
Complete Klamath Mitigation Fund PDFKMF-Fund-Program-Document_Final