Representatives of PacifiCorp, Klickitat County and Skamania County announced a tentative agreement concerning decommissioning of the Condit Hydroelectric Project located on the White Salmon River in southwestern Washington.
In return for various terms from PacifiCorp, the counties will not oppose the decommissioning of the project.
Under general terms of the agreement, approved by the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 9, and scheduled for consideration by Skamania County on Nov. 16, PacifiCorp will pay the counties $675,000 to offset decommissioning impacts to the local community, transfer the project’s hydroelectric water right to Klickitat County, and complete measures to protect the structural integrity of Northwestern Lake Bridge.
In return, the counties will not oppose PacifiCorp’s efforts to remove Condit Dam and associated facilities as proposed by PacifiCorp; complete noxious weed control in the project area after decommissioning; and, work with PacifiCorp to implement a public safety plan during the decommissioning project.
"Klickitat and Skamania counties participated fully in the review of Condit Dam removal in state and federal environmental studies and submitted comments to a host of governmental agencies, including the Washington state Department of Ecology," said Klickitat County Commissioner Dave Sauter. He added that “PacifiCorp took seriously the counties' concerns and incorporated a number of the recommendations into the dam removal plan."
Jamie Tolfree, chair of the Skamania Board of Commissioners, added that “the counties will now look to the federal agencies and the Department of Ecology to ensure that dam removal is carried out consistent with federal and state requirements.”
“Reaching agreement with the counties allows us to continue moving forward on the decommissioning of the Condit project,” said Todd Olson, project manager for PacifiCorp. “With Klickitat and Skamania County not opposing decommissioning, along with a 401 water quality certification issued by the Washington state Department of Ecology, we are taking the next steps toward removing Condit Dam.”
The next step is to obtain a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which the company originally applied for in July 2004. PacifiCorp is also awaiting a surrender order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which will finalize removal specifications and resource management plans. The company is also in the final phases of contracting for the demolition work.
“We are gaining confidence these elements will fall into place in order for Condit to be removed in the fall of 2011,” said Olson. “However, an acceptable surrender order and finalization of the overall decommissioning budget are crucial to this project going forward. Condit has served our customers well since 1913, and PacifiCorp must ensure it’s in our customers’ best interests to remove the project at this time.”
PacifiCorp says it will will issue updates as the Condit decommissioning process advances.