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ONRC using Basin issues

to raise money for itself

Published August 2, 2004

By LANE ROELLE - Guest columnist

I would like to address a few of the issues that Jim McCarthy talks about in his commentary in the July 19 Herald and News. In my opinion, his entire commentary was full of half-truths, innuendo, misinformation and outright lies.

Maybe the Endangered Species Act needs to be dismembered. Of the millions, maybe billions, spent on implementing the act, how many species has it saved? How many species have been delisted? Why do the environmentalists consider peer review dismembering? What do they have to conceal? Is it maybe their scientists know the outcome of their studies before they begin?

I don't believe anybody thinks that the "water woes will disappear" by any one measure. I do believe what the elected officials want is true science behind the listing of any species. And if the Oregon Natural Resources Council was really concerned about wildlife, I would think they would want the equivalent.

As for the "major campaign contributors," I didn't realize what a political powerhouse the Klamath Basin is, or that the Rockefellers and Nelsons farmed in the Basin.

When it was reported that 34,000 fish died, the upper Klamath Basin received all of the blame for the entire fish kill the next day. McCarthy states that "...the Bush administration chose to ignore the reality that there wasn't enough water to safely supply all of the Basin's competing needs. As a result, 34,000 Klamath River salmon died."

More than a year later it was reported in several articles that the fish die-off was caused by several mitigating factors. The environmental groups involved in the fish die-off first held responsible the upper Klamath Basin, and subsequently distorted their study to agree with their biased outcome. That is how these groups work: Find someone to blame, and then make their study fit their outcome. What wonderful science they practice.

But the most ambiguous statements he makes are about the financial aspects of the lease lands. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that his figures are correct, but he doesn't once mention the money that the farmers earn off of the lease lands.

He makes it sound as if these farmers derive absolutely no income off of these lands. He states "...$1.9 million a year in rents." Let's say, on the conservative side, that the lease payments are half of the costs to operate a lease, that indicates that another $1.9 million is going back directly into the Basin economy in seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, parts, college tuition and other things.

His hyperbole continues with his saying "Local landowners go bankrupt because they can't pay their mortgages." They are going bankrupt because the banks are apprehensive about financing operating loans with the uncertainty of having water allocated year to year. Private land rental prices are market driven. Profit margins are slim in farming to begin with, and to suggest that not farming these lease lands would change that, is not only asinine, it is a lie. McCarthy would not know this because all of his education has come from a book.

The only real basis for the ONRC to be involved in the Basin's problems is money. Without some type of critical crisis, the ONRC would not be able to dupe people into contributing to its cause.

These environmental organizations, and the people who work for these organizations, contribute nothing to society. They wreak havoc on families that just want to make a living.

When this beautiful Klamath Basin, which I love, is dried up and just another ghost town, these people will attack some place else. They don't even live here, to see the carnage they leave behind. They are no better than the illicit TV preachers who prey on little old widow ladies.


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