Bureau Of Reclamation Moving Ahead With Plans To Raise Shasta Dam

Calling it a “finalizing” of the plan to raise Shasta Dam, the Bureau of Reclamation has released the final supplemental environmental impact statement for the project. The bureau says more than 6,500 public comments were received and considered for the draft EIS. The Bureau also claims that the revisions in the statement address issues threatening the project, including the effect on the McCloud River. That’s one of the points that the State of California used to win a challenge of the plan in federal court. The new federal analysis was written by a different set of biologists. The Winnemum Wintu, who lost most of their ancestral lands when the dam was built, would be underwater with the expansion of the lake. They also say the rising water would flood many uncapped mines from prior to the original dam construction, releasing untold amounts of toxins into the lake. The tribe has been one of the primary voices in opposition to the project. The Bureau says that raising the height by 18.5 feet would increase the lake’s capacity by 634,000 acre-feet, or about 200 billion gallons of water. The Trump Administration, through multiple memorandums, has ordered that the environmental review process be expedited in order to fast track large infrastructure projects such as this one. However if there’s one thing that remains true about water in California, it’s that the fight is far from over.

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