SACRAMENTO — Firing the latest salvo in a battle over the future of the Klamath River, the California Energy Commission on Monday reaffirmed its stand that removing four hydroelectric dams that block salmon migration would cost less than trying to keep them.
In December, the commission issued a report asserting that removing the dams and purchasing replacement power would cost roughly $100 million less than installing extensive new fish ladders for imperiled salmon and steelhead.
PacifiCorp, the Portland-based company that owns the dams, volleyed back with a 50-page study of its own suggesting that the commission study, performed by a private consulting firm, got it wrong.
The power company argued that the commission failed to consider several important economic and environmental factors and that renovating the dams to accommodate the fish would actually save $46 million more than dismantling them. The firm submitted its study to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is considering whether the dams will win a new long-term operating license.