California's Siskiyou County Water Users Association has asked FERC to act on a 2017 motion to dismiss the Klamath River dams' license transfer application filed by PacifiCorp and Klamath River Renewal Corporation [P-2082, P-14803] because Congress has not consented to it.

KRRC is awaiting a decision from FERC on the transfer after submitting its "guaranteed maximum price" of $446 million to remove the dams and restore the river on Feb. 28 (CU No. 1943 [11]).

On March 16, the association filed a letter and refiled the motion with FERC to dismiss the application, saying that transferring the license from PacifiCorp to KRRC is a joint state action that must be approved by either Congress or the Klamath River Compact Commission, a decision-making entity created by the amended Klamath River Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.

According to the motion, “Absent Congressional consent, the KRRC is not qualified to receive the license. Put another way, it would be unconstitutional and a violation of federal law for FERC to approve the transfer, as it would constitute FERC facilitating an evasion of the jurisdiction of the Compact.”

The argument contends the Constitution's compact clause prohibits a state from entering into agreements or compacts with another state unless Congress consents. It notes that a multiparty Klamath River Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement reached in 2008 failed because the congressional approval needed to implement it was not obtained. An amended settlement reached in April 2016 was filed with FERC, but not approved, the motion states.

In its letter, the group urged FERC to rule on the motion.

"We encourage FERC to not allow itself to be goaded into inappropriate action in regards to these valuable assets," the letter states. "The regional population directly impacted by Dam removal is adamantly opposed to the removal. We are joined in this opposition by numerous organizations as well as local County governments including but not limited to Siskiyou County, California and Jefferson County in Oregon."

K.C. Mehaffey covers fish issues for Clearing Up, and is editor of the NW Fishletter. She joined the NewsData writing team in February 2018. From lawsuits to scientific studies, she is enjoying the deep dive into the Columbia Basin's many fish topics.