Salazar: Klamath dam removal will cost far less

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the cost of removing four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon will cost far less than first believed.

Salazar said in a speech Monday in San Francisco that the proposed removal project will cost about $290 million, not $450 million as initially estimated.

Salazar said the analysis detailing the lower cost will appear in a draft environmental impact statement on the project to be released Thursday.

The dam removal proposed for 2020 is part of an agreement to restore historic salmon runs while maintaining irrigation for the region's farmers.

Utility regulators in California and Oregon have approved plans for Portland-based dam owner PacifiCorp to raise electricity rates to help pay for the removal of the hydroelectric dams.