Hydroelectric Dams:

Interior Favors Removing Elwha River Dams, but Who Should Pay Is Undecided

RCED-92-168: Published: Jun 5, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1992.

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GAO provided information on the Department of the Interior's official positions on: (1) whether the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams in Washington should be removed; and (2) who should pay the costs associated with the dams' removal, if they are to be removed.

GAO found that: (1) Interior believes that the dams should be removed in order to restore anadromous fish populations in the Elwha River basin, restore the Elwha River basin's damaged ecosystem, and fulfill U.S. treaty obligations with resident Indian tribes concerning tribal access to usual and customary fishing places; (2) Interior has not resolved with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of Management and Budget whether the dams would be removed or who would be responsible for paying the costs to remove them; and (3) proposed legislation which would require federal acquisition of the dams to further the federal government's salmon restoration efforts may resolve much of the controversy surrounding the dams.

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