Klamath Dams = Toxic Waste?



That's the argument being advanced by Klamath Riverkeeper and the Yurok and Karuk tribes in a $1 billion lawsuit filed yesterday. The Associated Press gives the rationale:

The argument is that the Iron Gate and Copco dams south of the Oregon border in Northern California create the perfect conditions for the toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa by slowing and warming the Klamath River in reservoirs, where the water absorbs agricultural runoff that help the algae grow.

"No one has brought this kind of case pertaining to solid waste, but we think the facts fit the law," said attorney Daniel Cooper of the San Francisco group Lawyers for Clean Water.

"There are areas with algae problems around the state and the country," he said. "The unique factor about the Klamath is there has been extensive sampling demonstrating that highly toxic levels accumulate in the reservoirs and are discharging in the river. And they sampled upstream reservoirs and found no detectable levels of the (algae)."

This news would seem to be grim news for the Klamath settlement talks, which are supposed to be wrapping about now. Something tells me it's not going so ducky in there.

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