Save California Salmon
Members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and Hoopa Valley Tribes, fishermen, Klamath river users, and non-government organizations from throughout the nation are sponsoring a day of action for Klamath dam removal on October 23. They are demanding that Warren Buffet, the owner of Pacific Power and the Klamath River dams, keep his promise to remove the dams.
“It’s clear to us that Pacificorp is intentionally stalling the dam removal process in order to hold on to these monuments of colonialism and tools of genocide,” said Yurok Tribal member, Annelia Hillman from the Klamath Justice Coalition. “They have an opportunity to set an example for how corporate America should treat communities of color and Native Tribes. Instead they seem determined to destroy salmon, communities, and economies at the expense of their own customers. We refuse to accept this fate. The dams must come down!”
The groups are calling on everyone who is committed to the survival of Pacific Salmon, Native American rights and clean water to join them. A virtual rally and COVID-safe actions are being planned in several cities, includingWarren Buffett’s hometown Omaha, Nebraska. The day of action will also include educational outreach and efforts to block Berkshire Hathaway from brokering business deals in other cities. People and organizations from Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Klamath, Washington DC, San Diego and other cities plan to participate.
“Tribal members are not going to allow corporate America to break agreements and contracts with our people in the same manner as the United States has with treaties.” said Thomas Joseph, a Hoopa Valley Tribal member who is driving to Omaha to rally with Nebraska Tribes. “Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway have agreed to these dam removals and they must keep their word.”
The plan to remove four lower Klamath River dams appeared to be on track to start by 2022 until July 16, 2020, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made the decision to partially transfer the Klamath dams to a dam removal entity and conditioned that PacifiCorp remained a co-licensee. Now, PacifiCorp says they might not remove the dams despite having collected $200 million from its ratepayers dam removal. The State of California has also earmarked $250 million in bond funding to support the project. PacifiCorp has indicated it is concerned about the potential for ongoing liability if it remains on the dam license when the facilities are removed.
“PacifiCorp committed to taking down the Klamath River dams by 2020. They collected the money to remove the dams and received state permits for dam removal, but now claim the deal is not good enough," said Regina Chichizola from Save California Salmon. "Buffett is the fourth richest man in the world. One of Berkshire Hathaway’s top shareholders is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates is the second richest man in the world. The nonprofit charged with removing the dams has already developed the most comprehensive liability protection packages for any dam removal project in history. We will not allow them to act like upstanding members of their own communities, while they destroy ours. We encourage everyone to plan actions online, and off, and to post videos, photos and their messages using the hashtag #UnDamtheKlamath.”
The Klamath dams promote the growth of toxic algae and contribute to the collapse of Chinook and coho salmon runs. This has devastated sport, commercial and tribal fishing in the Klamath River and all along the California coast.
Chichizola added that organizers will also join people from the City of San Diego to oppose Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s bid to take over the City of San Diego’s power system. "The City of San Diego should understand that Berkshire Hathaway Energy is not a reliable partner,” she continued. “In addition to constantly moving the ball in negotiations over Klamath dam removal, BHE’s PacifiCorp was sued for starting one, or more, of Oregon and California’s recent wildfires. People who have experience with this company know that they care about profits, not people.”
Save California Salmon's virtual action effort is part of their Mobilizing Water Justice Week of Action with Humboldt State University Native American Studies Department, which will occur every day at 3:30 p.m. from Oct. 19-23 and take on issues such environmental racism in California water decisions, the Delta Tunnels’ impacts on native people, climate and fire, safe drinking water and saving the Klamath salmon. The public can register to attend these virtual events at tinyurl.com/Mobilize4water .
The Klamath Justice Coalition and other organizations will also be hosting vital and in-person actions all day. More information is at californiasalmon.org, @CaliSalmon on Twitter California Rivers on Instagram and Save California Salmon and Klamath Justice Coalition on Facebook. Supporters can register for the event at: tinyul.com/Mobilize4Water.