Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Klamath Dam removal gets boost from the Browns

Fisheries technicians with the Karuk Tribe walk near the Klamath River on December 8, 2015, near Orleans, Calif.
Fisheries technicians with the Karuk Tribe walk near the Klamath River on December 8, 2015, near Orleans, Calif.

Congress be damned, they want to demolish those dams.

A little background: Aging, privately-owned hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River – three in California, one in Oregon – have for years bedeviled policymakers and environmentalists who say the outdated structures hurt migratory fish. Despite a local coalition of sometimes-antagonistic parties striking a deal to tear down the dams, Congress failed to get behind the plan. Republicans like Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, argued that demolishing the privately owned dams would hurt electricity generation, though power companies saying they’d manage fine.

State and federal officials and dams owner PacifiCorp are forging ahead with a plan to remove the dams, with Gov. Jerry Brown proposing $250 million in this year’s budget. PacifiCorp has offered to kick in another $200 million.

Today the governor will be in northern California with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (no relation) and tribal and business leaders to make an announcement on where things stand with what the (California) Brown administration heralds as “largest river restoration project in U.S. history.” Things kick off at a Yurok reservation in Klamath at 10 a.m.

MODEL LEGISLATION: Slender bodies are the norm in the modeling world, but fears that the emphasis on thinness in endangering models’ health has fueled policies like France’s ban on excessively skinny models. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, is weighing in with legislation to require workplace standards for models that would monitor for hazards like eating disorders. He’ll highlight Assembly Bill 2539 alongside current and former models in room 1190 at 10 a.m., ahead of the bill going up in the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment.

RULES OF TREES: Millions of trees face death by drought in California, and those extraordinary circumstances are driving some regulatory changes. Brown already declared an emergency that suspended some tree-cutting requirements. Today the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is considering exempting folks through 2018 from having to reporting and permitting requirements around cutting down dead and dying trees. Starting at 9 a.m. at 1416 Ninth street.

HEALTHFUL: From assisted death to tobacco control to health plan taxes, public health policy continues to drive action in the Capitol. Today the organization State of Reform is putting on a health policy conference at the convention center, with California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley offering the keynote and an array of legislators from both parties scheduled to appear on panels throughout the day.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert