Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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President of Siskiyou County Water Users Association / SCWUA Richard Marshall responds to radio host Bill Meyer and dozens of citizens to be harmed by Klamath Dam destruction regarding Oregon and California funding the destruction, agenda vs science, and Klamath River Compact
"Funding might be private, but the
infrastructure destroyed isn’t…they created a public trust
with the water and the Compact..."
SCWUA President Richard Marshall:
There were several interveners who fought against the CPUC give away. Siskiyou County Water Users were one and Siskiyou County itself entered into the fray. The die was cast though at the PUC board level as the Commissioners were all political appointees of then Governor Jerry Brown. We (SCWUA) protested one of the Board members (CPUC) because she before being appointed to the Commission was the attorney for the Cal Dept of Natural Resources and the lead attorney for them in the Klamath Dams process.
We the Water Users filed a suit against FERC which went all the way to the appeals court in D.C. requesting the court hear the issue of the Compact Clause and the role of the Compact Commission. Our Writ of Mandamus was denied (approx. 2 years ago) with the admonition that we were too aggressive i.e. ahead of the game. Because at that time FERC hadn’t made a decision at that point. No harm no foul.
The fact is that the Compact clause of the U.S. Constitution is clear that the Compact is a place where issues between the states should be heard and decided on regarding the Klamath River ( Article I, Section 10, Clause 3). The SCWUA challenged the Compact Committee on their inaction in the matter. The problem is that the current chairperson is Chrysten Lambert (Chrysten Lambert was the founding executive director for Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust from 2002–2005. She returned to KBRT staff in 2009 to develop the organization’s Water Transactions Program. Lambert holds a master’s in geology from the University of Washington. Balance in the Klamath Basin). Besides being a card carrying member of Trout Unlimited in Oregon her father is Jim Root, (Jim was owner and Chief Executive Officer of Sabroso Company, an international food-processing company dedicated to maintaining sustainable operations. Jim has a strong interest in encouraging international trade, and he founded the Southern Oregon International Trade Council. Beyond trade, Jim is internationally recognized for his knowledge of sustainable farming practices and is focused on developing processed-food markets for agricultural communities in Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. He was president of the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, which merged with Trout Unlimited, chairman of the Crater Lake National Park Trust, and served on the Board of Directors of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Jim is on the Board of KRRC and is the former Vice President of the Board.
There are three members of the Board of Directors of the Klamath Compact One each from Oregon (Dept of Water Resources and one from California Dept of Resources) and then Chrysten Lambert who was appointed by Obama and represents the President of the United States. We at SCWUA met with our Congressional reps when Trump was President to see about appointing a new Chair. It didn’t happen because the Administration was consumed with other matters and very conveniently the Demos had removed the position from the “Blue Book” which contains the listing of those offices which can be replaced by the incoming President. We probably would have gotten it done if there had been a second term but you know what happened. So getting the matter resolved in the Compact Commission may be quite difficult because it is a political board controlled by California and Oregon Water Depts. In any case we still think that Congress needs to weigh in through the Compact Clause on this matter and on the potential transfer of lands from the Federal ownership. The Klamath River is a federal asset under the Dept of Commerce and the States entered into a agreement, a treaty, regarding the development or in this case destruction of historic structures in the Klamath River which will impair the water quality and adversely impact the aquatic life forms in the River including Salmon, Sturgeon, Suckerfish, as well as the birds and other mammals that use the water way and will be faced with a very polluted River that they depend on for their existence. In addition, the reservoir lakes behind the dams which serve a multitude of purposes will be destroyed and the environment connected with the lakes will be gone forever. All this to serve an untested thesis that the Salmon who will go through several life cycles at sea without returning will eventually return and travel upstream in an inhospitable area without proper habitat above Copco Dams and area where before PacifiCorp prostituted itself, they argued in 2006 that there was no habitat above the dams. Certainly, Klamath Lake is not an appropriate habitat as it is warm swallow water. The Salmon never got that far, and why would they. All the best habitat for the Salmon to spawn in is below the Iron Gate Dam. The study proffered by Hamilton as the lynchpin for saying that the Salmon would go up in the upper area is at best a high school level book report all based on second hand information. Some of his statements make no scientific sense. And the earliest statements by surveying parties long before the dams were clear that the Salmon were not to be found above the area where dams are located except perhaps in very high water conditions. The language studies done on the area indicate that the Native population referred to any large fish as Salmon. The large fish we know existed back then in the Sprague were a fresh water relative of the Salmon, the Red Band Salmon Trout which grew to some 30 pounds at times. This is a carnivorous fish which we at SCWUA pointed out in our responses to the EIR EIS of FERC are glad to eat all the Salmon fry they can. This doesn’t bode well for the downstream Salmon. Red Band are much more attuned to variations in temperature of the water thriving at higher temperatures than Salmon.
We also without the dams to flush the river going will go back to the times of floods and low water conditions with even more susceptibility to algae downstream in the summer months. Buffet will enjoy selling his electricity at even higher prices as he brings power in from the mid west energy companies he owns, which primarily use coal but he does have a growing wind and solar capability thanks to the US government. Recall the early survey parties in 1800’s stating that the water in the Klamath was unfit to drink by humans or horses.
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