EPA Reverses Prior Decision, Declares Klamath River Impaired by Toxic Algae


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In a press release sent out this morning, the Klamath Riverkeepers claim to have won a "major concession" today from the Environmental Protection Agency. In a reversal of their prior decision, the EPA has now designated the Klamath River as impaired by toxic algae.

The blue green algae, Microcystis aeruginosa, blooms in reservoirs created by PacifiCorp's dams and exceeds international safety standards for algal toxin by as much as 4,000 fold, according to Regina Chichizola of the Klamath Riverkeepers.

PacifiCorp is presently in negotiations with the Klamath Settlement Group about the potential removal of four hydroelectric dams on the river, and the Oregon power utlility is also in the final steps of a federally mandated relicensing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In order to relicense their dams, PacifiCorp will need to get a clean water certification from the states of California and Oregon, but the EPA's decision could make that difficult.


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