PacifiCorp and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation formally notified FERC they will not accept co-licensee status for the lower Klamath River dams in a new joint application, seeking instead to transfer the license to KRRC and the states of California and Oregon [P-14803].

The Jan. 13 filing notes that in its July 2020 order, FERC refers to several ways of protecting public interests.

The new approach would fully address FERC's "unique public interest concerns" and fully resolve its concerns about the possibility the dam removal effort might "unintentionally 'fall to federal or state authorities,'" the filing stated.

It notes that in addition to $450 million set aside for dam removal, the states and PacifiCorp have each agreed to contribute $15 million—or $45 million in total—for a contingency fund, and equally share any cost overruns that might occur over $495 million.

Once the license transfers to the states and KRRC, PacifiCorp will continue to maintain project operations on a contract until electric operations end and the powerhouses are disconnected from the grid.

"All three transferees are eminently qualified to be co-licensees," the application states.

The joint application asks FERC to grant the request "expeditiously, without delay."

It notes that approval of a license transfer will allow applicants to advance ongoing property conveyance arrangements in proceedings before the state PUCs. PacifiCorp has already filed a property transfer agreement request with the state PUCs, which will enable the company to transfer hydroelectric facilities and property—including about 8,000 acres of land—to KRRC.

In the docket's other filings, the Shasta Indian Nation and its affiliate Kikaceki Land Conservancy are seeking to intervene in the surrender proceedings.

The tribe wants to intervene to ensure the public interest and tribal people of the Klamath River region are represented, and the land trust seeks to preserve the environment and cultural sites in the area.

The requests say the aboriginal homelands of the Shasta Indians include areas submerged by the construction of Iron Gate, Copco No. 1 and Copco No. 2 hydroelectric projects, and that their ancestors had their lands taken by eminent domain during construction of the Copco dams.

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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.