Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Glenn Howard, Chairman KBA
Basin Alliance Dinner

by Jacqui Krizo, KBC editor 1/28/07

KLAMATH FALLS - Basin Alliance formed in 2003 when the Federal Government was negotiating a deal with the Klamath Tribes, Klamath Water Users, and Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust to give 730,000 acres of the Winema and Fremont National Forests to the Tribes again in exchange for water rights.

Last night more than 70 people came to their dinner at the Klamath Falls fairgrounds. Yummies catered the dinner, and many door prizes were awarded.

According to the Klamath Tribes, their reservation was unfairly terminated. They sold their land and would like their historic reservation returned to them in exchange for allowing Klamath Basin irrigators to use water to irrigate their crops. They would relax their demands for artificially elevated Klamath Lake requirements for endangered sucker fish in exchange. Go HERE for 2003-2005 negotiations.

Glenn Howard, Chairman of Klamath Basin Alliance, said this group puts out only the facts. "The opposition makes us out to be vile people. We're irrigators, workers and property owners concerned about the basin. We are not anti-Klamath Tribes or anti-Indian. We believe what's right is right."

Howard explained the group's concerns:
* Private property adjacent to or surrounded by proposed tribal acquisition would be impacted for access since landowners would be dealing with a sovereign nation that is not under the same legal system as non-tribal members.                         
* Public lands should stay available to the American public for hunting, fishing and recreation.
* The Klamath Tribe's constitution claims: ’All waters which originate in or flow through the Klamath Tribes jurisdiction, or which are stored within the Klamath Tribes jurisdiction, whether found on the surface or underground, are a valuable Tribal resource of the Klamath Tribes, and are protected for present and future use of the Klamath Tribes." So according to the  constitution, since most of the Klamath Basin watershed is derived from those lands they want back, the tribes would control all of the water.

Senator Whitsett on November 16th stated to the Klamath County Commissioners, "According to this document (Klamath Tribe's Constitution), re-establishing the identified sovereign land base would cede virtually all the water in Klamath County to a sovereign government that claims total jurisdiction over the control and use of that resource. In my view, the creation of a sovereign land base for the Klamath Tribes is a losing proposition for the Tribes, a losing proposition for our non-tribal citizens, and a losing proposition for our County."

Lori Baley
Lori Baley, member of the Klamath County School Board, spoke to the dinner guests about property taxes and federal forest receipts funding the schools. If the federal forest receipts are eliminated, the state budget would be severely impacted.

Dell Sparks, retired Klamath area Oregon State Water Master, talked about water adjudication, its history and progress. The process should be finished in 2008, with the department completing their work in 2009. Then it goes into the courts.

He said the state recognizes The Endangered Species Act but will not enforce ESA regulations since they are federal law and not state law. "The ESA has no water right."

Parks said anyone is entitled to a well, however no permits are presently being issued to use them for agriculture. And no surface water permits have been issued for 15 years.

In December KBA submitted over 1100 petitions requesting the Klamath County Commissioners pass a resolution requiring current public owned land remain in public ownership and not be given or sold to the Klamath Tribes. KBA believes it is crucial for the watershed to be publicly owned.

There will be a public hearing February 6th at 10 a.m at the Klamath County Courthouse to keep the public lands public, and everyone is encouraged to attend.


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