1) Yurok Tribe: The major environmental justice group in the Klamath dispute is the Yurok Indian tribe. The Yurok are the largest Native American tribe in California. Members of the Yurok tribe are also very poor, and have become more impoverished as the resources on which they depend, particularly redwood forests and salmon, have declined. For centuries the Yurok have harvested and consumed salmon from the Klamath River. The salmon are important to the tribes as a staple food and for tribal religious ceremonies. The primary religious ceremonies of the Yurok tribe focus on maintaining nature, and one of the principal ceremonies is centered around salmon. The Yurok tribe is advocating the removal of hydroelectric dams on the lower part of the Klamath River which threaten the status of anadromous salmon on the river. Currently, several salmon species on the river are either threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The dams prevent salmon from migrating upstream to their customary breeding grounds and contribute to fish diseases. The dams threaten the health and livelihoods of the Yurok and others who depend on Klamath salmon.
2) Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA): This trade organization of various groups of fishermen along the West coast also wants PacifiCorp to remove hydroelectric dams on the lower portion of the Klamath River. The association seeks to protect the rights and livelihoods of fishermen, to conserve the fish populations on which they depend, and to help fishermen defend themselves against powerful governmental and business interests. The PCFFA has played a major role in the opposition to the Klamath dams by pursuing a number of lawsuits against PacifiCorp. This federation helps to organize communities of fishermen and to protect their interests through legal action, advocacy, and the media. The PCFFA obtains funds mainly through "assessments on catches" (PCFFA) and these funds contribute to local and federation-wide efforts.
3) PacifiCorp: This utility company has three branches, one of which provides electricity for customers in Oregon, Washington, and California. The company generates about 6% of its electricity through hydroelectric dams in these three states. Its other power sources include wind, solar, coal, and geothermal energy. According to its mission statement, the company aims to balance "developmental and non-developmental goals" and to further the "public interest".
In 2004, PacifiCorp applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a new contract for the Klamath Hydroelectric Project. This development is "between Klamath Falls, Oregon and Yreka, California" (FERC) and contains a total of eight dams, including seven on the Klamath River. PacifiCorp proposes to continue to operate most of the dams in the development, with some modifications to allow for further fish passage.
4) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): The FERC "regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil," and licenses "natural gas pipelines" and "hydropower projects" (FERC) in the United States. The Commission is currently deciding whether to renew PacifiCorp's license on the dam and under what conditions to renew this license. The FERC recently issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the relicensing of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project.
5) The California and Oregon state governments: The state governments have the responsibility of enforcing state water laws and protecting tribal water rights. Until recently the state water laws did not protect the requirements of "fish and wildlife"; however, tribal treaty rights assert that enough water should remain in rivers and lakes "to protect subsistence fisheries." (Spain) I will need to further investigate the intersections of (and potential conflicts among) various state responsibilities, as well as the influence of state versus federal laws in the Klamath dispute. For example, state public utility commissions seek to provide people with electricity, and this mission may conflict with state efforts to satisfy people's needs for water and other resources. In addition to affecting the outcome of the Klamath dispute through legislation, state governments could provide funds for dam removal or modification, although such projects would likely require federal financial support as well.
6) Other parties to the dispute include:
a) The Karuk, Hoopa, and Klamath Indian tribes
b) United States: U.S. Department of Commerce: U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of the Interior: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs
c) Various non-governmental organizations, including Trout Unlimited and Klamath Forest Alliance
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