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Oregon regulators approve federal emergency permits for the demolition of six Oregon dams

Oregon regulators approve federal emergency permits for the demolition of six Oregon dams

In ‘momentous’ act, regulators approve demolition of four Klamath River dams on the eve of a federal emergency review

Sixty-eight dams in 20 states, including six in Oregon, have been destroyed as part of a review of dam safety since 2012.

Oregon regulators on Wednesday approved federal emergency permits for the six Oregon dams to be demolished in the coming hours.

The plan calls for the demolition of Old Diggins Dam, the oldest of the Oregon dams, at the mouth of the Klamath River, and the three-dam system on the Klamath River in the Willamette Valley.

Federal officials approved emergency permits on Feb. 24 and will issue the permits before the demolition is complete on Thursday, said Steve Lueken, with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Oregon has also been criticized in recent years for the destruction of state dams, but state regulators have generally been more relaxed about the plan’s destruction of Oregon dams, which are more vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), which oversees federal dam safety permitting, sent letters to state regulators Wednesday.

“The review is a’momentous’ and’significant’ act of good stewardship for the State of Oregon and the Klamath Tribes,” Lueken said.

The review is aimed at protecting the public from the risk of severe flooding in the Klamath basin, and may allow federal officials to speed up the removal of the two dams, in particular, Old Diggins, about 30 miles upstream from the mouth of the Klamath River.

“I’d like to say this to everyone: Old Diggins Dam is on its way to being taken down,” said Jeff Ruch, an emergency manager for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) who has criticized the plan. “Old Diggins Dam was designed for safety and protection, and for the good of the people along the Klamath River.

“We don’t get a lot of notice anymore when that happens,” Ruch said. “It’s a real sad thing.”

Lueken said state and federal regulators also have discussed plans to use funding for emergency repairs or replacements to speed up construction of new dam projects. In a statement, Oregon officials said they will continue with their plans to help emergency managers as part of the emergency review.

“The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (

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