Glenn Howard, Chairman KBA
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.
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
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
* 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, 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.
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.