Featured News, Siskiyou

How much do you know about the Klamath issue except that there are four dams slated for demolition?

By Kristi Diener

I contacted Kristi and asked to republish her writing and work from the
CA For Food and People Movement, Thank you Kristi Diener
Originally Published: April 6th, 2023

 I thought a good place to start this conversation would be with a map. Three of the dams are in California, and one is in Oregon. They are located way up there in a politically conservative pocket of true northern California. (Did you think California ended at Sacramento lol?)

The reservoirs are connected by the “wild and scenic” designated Klamath River, and are lined up like tea cups on the California side. As the river fills the top reservoir, it spills down into the next cup, and then the next. Each time it spills, it generates hydro-power. The electricity they make isn’t humongous, but in this rural area of roughly 40,000, they produce plenty—about twice their needs. Without the dams, power would have to be transmitted to them from far away places and would be very expensive.

Around the lakes are a few homes, and family businesses like patio-boat rentals, fishing guides, home town cafes, things of this nature. Its charm is a slower pace of life where neighbor knows neighbor, the scenery is breathtaking, and lemonade under the shade tree at dusk is commonplace.

The Klamath River here does something very different than typical river systems. As the water travels south along the plains of Oregon, it gets very warm. The temperature is too high for salmon to spawn. As the water pools in the deep reservoirs, the water becomes much colder, making the river below the dams ideal for spawning. Studies show taking down the dams will not guarantee an increase in salmon populations, yet that is the basis for doing so.

The rural regions around the dams are sparsely populated. The people there have a tiny fraction of the votes like big city folks, their collective pocketbooks are not deep, and overall they lack political and defensive power. For the bullies who are on a mission to demolish dams, these communities, their way of life, and their livelihoods are ripe for the pickin’, and are easy to trample. Close to 80% of the people in Siskiyou County voted against dam removal. It’s scheduled to happen anyway.

$250 million dollars of 2014’s Prop 1 water bond funds, sold to voters as a path to building new reservoirs, is on track to be used to bring these dams down. But one man in the area, Anthony Intiso, has said, “Enough!” Intiso has found that the wording in the water bond prohibits the use of Prop 1 funds on projects that will have an adverse impact on rivers with a “wild and scenic” designation–which the Klamath has. The Environmental Impact Reports clearly state removing the hydro-facilities will negatively affect river quality, fish, wildlife, and birds.

A man with limited means, but a bountiful amount of ethics, has decidedly taken a stand on behalf of all of us. He filed a taxpayer lawsuit to prevent water bond money from being used for dam demolition based on the text in the measure. Even though the issues in the Klamath area are different from the issues we face in most of the rest of the state, the antagonists are identical. They are well-funded, radical environmentalists, who use tribes, people of color, and disadvantaged communities as pawns to hide behind. They abuse the Endangered Species Act, the courts, and the taxpayers to propel their agendas forward under the guise of protecting the less fortunate and safeguarding species.

I want Anthony Intiso to win. He is all of us, and his victory is the “standing up” the people in this group are always advising. I am crossing my fingers you in this group will want to support this lawsuit as well. He is trying to raise $50,000 for court costs, and after weeks of fundraising, has managed to scramble up $975.

Do you think we could all chip in a bit and help him? He is suing the government’s abuse of our bond money, and it is worthy of our support. Wouldn’t that be amazing to log a victory against these thugs for once? @everyone

Link to pitch in what you can, is here. I will post updates on the progress of donations. TYSM for making it to the end of this longie, and for considering chipping in. 💦💙💦



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One Comment

  1. Shari Fiock Sandahl

    Thank you for writing this much needed article!

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