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.

Bill Kennedy, Klamath Water Users Association board member, comments on WSJ Dam the Salmon

June 6, 2007

Shikha Dalmia has eloquently stated what many of us in the real world of natural resource management have faced for the past 25 years. (Dam the Salmon 5-30-07 pg A19).

Some who claim to be advocating for the environment have limited our choices in natural resource decisions. Do we want modern, renewable hydropower or do we want migrating salmon? Do we practice forest management with selective logging or do we save the spotted owl?

The agenda of the greens or the deep ecologists is not what we see in their advocacy. In the case of Klamath River hydropower, dismantling our infrastructure creates real economic pressure on those identified as the big environmental problem, the growing human race.

25 years after shutting down timber production on our national forest, in the name of the spotted owl, the economy of our rural counties hangs in a state of disaster. While extreme anti-logging interests chanted “save the owl” their true desire was to create an economy not favorable for our communities. We are there.

Our rural counties have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to continue with annual subsidies replacing timber revenue support for our schools, our public health and our safety.

When we remove our affordable power from the Klamath we will continue towards the end of irrigated agriculture. With a 90-day growing season, we will not be able to afford our power to provide drainage and water delivery.

The reliable water and affordable power in the Klamath also provides food and habitat for over 400 species of vertebrate wildlife.

The extreme greens that are focused on removal of dams on the Klamath River do have a history of opposing just about every energy source and infrastructure development. There are two such directions that they were completely AWOL.

People’s Energy of Chicago proposed building a 1500 Megawatt gas fired generator in Bonanza, Oregon. This would have spewed out over a million metric tons of CO2 per year yet not one environmental group came out in opposition to it. Perhaps this is because such a plant would pay millions of mitigation dollars to the Energy Trust, which has very close ties to the extreme greens.

When a multinational company proposed an industrial hog production facility less than two miles away from a private wildlife refuge, not one of the deep ecology green groups was to be heard of.

The natural resource producers who live in the Klamath basin prevented these threats to our environment.

As we continue to resolve our resource issue here, we recognize that the true stakeholders determine direction. The irrigators, the tribes and the fishers that are in the water understand and respect each other. On the outside but struggling to portray themselves as bonafide advocates are the greens. While we are open to unlimited solutions that may include high tech hydropower and migrating salmon, the extreme environmental groups will continue to limit resolution in order to create economic anarchy in our communities.

William D. Kennedy
Lost River Ranch
(Bill Kennedy is on the board of directors of Klamath Water Users Association, past president of Water for Life, and member of the Klamath Farm  Bureau.)

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