Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The New York Times reports on the landmark $1 billion agreement between the upstream and downstream interests in the Klamath Basin. It's potentially a milestone; just the fact that these groups with such conflicting interests were able to sit down and negotiate such a deal is remarkable.
When I was doing the reporting for the documentary, I heard that the opposing groups were meeting (in secret at that time) and trying to reach some common ground. I admit I thought the prospects were dim they'd get this far.
Yet the cold fact is that it is still basically up to PacifiCorp if the dams are to be removed and key parts of this agreement implemented. And I believe chances of that are slim. There are huge costs, monumental engineering challenges, and many intervening variables; including conflicting government jurisdictions and environmental concerns that still have not been resolved.
I hope I'm wrong. As I pointed out above, I never thought they'd get this far. But there still is a long way to go before we see those dams come down and the historic salmon runs reopened in one of the most beautiful regions of the west.