Dam removal is the wisest approach from both economic and environmental perspectives. The Klamath Hydroelectric Project causes severe problems for fish: dams impede fish migration; alter flow regimes in ways that damage habitat and alter run timing; contribute to disease problems; and degrade water quality.
Economic studies by the California Energy Commission and others show dam removal to be less expensive than relicensing (due to expenses associated with mandated fish ladders, screens to protect downstream migrants, and measures to improve water quality). In fact, FERC asserts that relicensing the dams with mandated mitigation measures would result in the project operating at over a $20 million a year deficit (table 4-3 of FERC final EIS). Add to these economic factors the fact that these dams produce a relatively small amount of energy, and they provide no irrigation or drinking water diversions and its plain to see that in the case of the Klamath dams, dam removal is the most sensible choice.