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Republican leadership shows no viable plan for Basin water


Steve Kandra, Herald and News letter to the editor 2/25/11

(KBC note: Republican leaders supporting the amendment opposing the Klamath hydropower dam destruction studies are California U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, Calif. U.S. Congressman Wally Herger, and Oregon U.S. Congressman Greg Walden.  Kandra was a board member of Klamath Basin Ecosystem Foundation and a member of the Hatfield Working Group. He represents Klamath Water Users Association at the table negotiating the KBRA.)


The Klamath Basin Water crisis of 2001 took place with a Republican Congress and a Republican president in place.


Considerable effort was made at that time, unsuccessfully, to amend the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws that adversely impacted the agricultural economy of the Klamath Basin.

Republican political leadership sent the farmers, ranchers, Tribes, and environmental parties on a quest to work together for solution. After a decade of painful work and compromise those parties, with support from a Republican President, did come together with a plan, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydro-electric Settlement Agreement.

Those agreements, fruits of the Republican-directed quest to resolve the Klamath conflict, have been presented to a Republican House of Representatives.

The Republican House is rejecting the decade of work that it requested and funded. Congressional leadership, lead by California Rep.Tom McClintock, R-Calif., gives lip service to the need for problem-solving environmental reform and has not put any viable legislative solution on the table for consideration and debate. Opposition to the negotiated agreements has not offered up any viable alternative plan other than to continue holding Klamath agriculture, fishermen and businesses hostage.

The Republican message is that forcing a private utility to relicense a small uneconomical hydro project is politically more important than preserving family farm and fishing communities.

It would appear that Republican leadership prefers to represent victims instead of problem-solvers, and the victims in this case continue to be the long-suffering farmers, ranchers, businessmen and fishermen in the Klamath Basin.

Steve Kandra

Klamath Falls

Some Readers Comments:


Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, “a decade of painful work and compromise” gave the wrong solutions, that are the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Klamath Hydro-electric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). The correct solution is simply, transfer ownership of the Klamath River hydroelectric dams to the United States of America (U.S.A.) Federal government, so that the dams are operated fairly for all Klamath River multiuse—including fish culture, clean renewable 160 megawatt hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, wildlife habitat, etc.--and, observing that J.C. Boyle Dam fish ladder is often misrepresented as being excessively deficient, like a U.S.A. court has specified, provide adequate fish passageways to the Klamath River hydroelectric dams that need them. I have copies of both the KBRA and the KHSA, and for the KBRA to continue validly per the KBRA, no Klamath River Hydroelectric dam must necessarily be ruined. E.G.: KBRA Part 1, Section 7.3, page 30, Severability. “This Agreement is made on the understanding that each provision is a necessary part of the entire Agreement. However, if any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable by a Regulatory Agency or a court of competent jurisdiction: (I) the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions of this Agreement are not affected or impaired in any way;”. . . .


Observing that the Crater Lake Park Headquarters annual snowfall declined 26% from the 1940s to the 2000s, and that the hypothetical Long Lake water storage project has of the U.S.A. Bureau of Reclamation been found to be excessively ineffective, costly, and impractical to construct, Agency Lake and Upper Klamath Lake-draining Klamath Basin agriculture, may do well to seek conserving water in the Klamath River watershed per artificial Upper Klamath Lake reservoirs, rather than seek to destroy Klamath River water reservoirs, hasten Klamath River watershed water runoff to the ocean, and when adequate Agency Lake and Upper Klamath Lake water storage for irrigation is available, substitute lowering the Klamath basin water table with agricultural well water withdrawal (e.g., as was the case with no improved fish ladder for the former Sprague River dam in Chiloquin City) so as to provide additional river flow for fish. Reducing Klamath "A" Canal flows, amounts to requiring longer distance food imports for the U.S.A. S.W. Also the Sacramento River delta farmland is precariously earthquake and ocean bay flooding vulnerable, and likely the Sacramento River will soon need a greater annual water release, from a much enlarged Shasta Dam.


The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is much satisfactorily good for each biologic species. I've read a version of the act online from the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov , you may search for the ESA there per the Law Library, U.S. Code, Title 16 Chapter 35 Sec. 1531, e.g. http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t13t16+7246+0++%28Endangered%20Species%20Act%29%20%20AND%20%28%2816%29%20ADJ%20USC%29%3ACITE%20AND%20%28USC%20w%2F10%20%281531%29%29%3ACITE%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20 ), and oftentimes citizens' ESA complaints, should be addressed to the biologic species plans that the U.S.A.'s Executive administration produces and implements per the ESA, or that the U.S.A. Judiciary provides per U.S.A. valid law, rather than to the ESA itself. Why? Because the ESA allows—as it should—the Executive administration to produce and implement a different custom plan for each biologic species, and the U.S.A. Judiciary determines Executive administration compliance to U.S.A. Law, so that like a satisfactorily good motor vehicle that's stuck in a snowbank, oftentimes its not the vehicle (i.e. the ESA) that's at fault, it's the operator (government agency) and/or the course (citizens) that the vehicle is operated of that's at fault.


Here is ESA 16 USC Chapter 35 Sec. 1531 Statute C: “(c) Policy (1) It is further declared to be the policy of Congress that all Federal departments and agencies shall seek to conserve endangered species and threatened species and shall utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter. (2) It is further declared to be the policy of Congress that Federal agencies shall cooperate with State and local agencies to resolve water resource issues in concert with conservation of endangered species.”


Do you really think that either political party will be able to solve the problems facing our nation. state, county or city let alone a simple farm water issue? I read the KBRA agreement from cover to cover, I came away with the fact that a few here in this county are going really line their pockets leaving the rest to figure it out for themselves that they got had! Oh and the KBRA agreement will not create ANY new jobs just destroy the ones already barley hanging on.


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