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.

letter to www.heraldandnews.com

Response to commentary on Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams

by David Oxley, Klamath Falls, 5/26/13

followed by: Commissioner working against Klamath’s interests, by 15 Project irrigators

Dear Herald and News Editor,

            I am responding to your Commentary article in Sunday's paper titled: "
Commissioner working against Klamath’s interests"

           It is no wonder that we are not solving any of the water issues in the Klamath Basin with rhetoric like that. It saddens me that many of the people who signed that commentary are in elected positions on local irrigation district boards and making the decisions on many of our water issues. The last time I checked...Tom Mallams and the other commissioners were voted in by a majority of the people and are representing them in the fashion that they said they would. If you remember...there were many very important issues that they all campaigned for and against, but let's face it, the KBRA was at the top of that list. They were voted in because they were anti-KBRA. For this fact I think their representing the people of Klamath County just as they were voted in to do.

      As for the KBRA supporters, it boggles my mind that anyone farming in Klamath County would want to support bigger government and more government programs, not to mention trying to make agreements with extreme environmentalist groups whose missions have fought agriculture at every turn. 

   When you sit back and look at the big picture...we are playing right into the handbook of the opposition which is to "divide and conquer". And boy have they done a good job. 

           Until we are able to vote these leaders on our local water boards off, as we did the leaders at the Commissioner level, we will make no progress on our important water issues, except empty rhetoric like that printed in the commentary last Sunday.

David Oxley                                       
Quarter Circle X Ranch
Klamath Falls, OR



Guest commentary

  Commissioner working against Klamath’s interests

  KBRA would address water issues in a measured and orderly fashion


   Guest Writers

     In a May 8 Associated Press article about the Klamath Basin Water Adjudication, Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams is quoted as saying, “I hope that nothing bad happens here. But if something bad happens, I am going to point the finger at the state Water Resources Department and state leadership as the cause of it.”

   Mallams was elected to represent all the people of Klamath County.

   Instead, he is working directly against the interests of hundreds of family farms and ranches, which, unfortunately, is nothing new for him.

   Although he participated in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement negotiations, he failed to deliver for his off-Project neighbors. Rather than take accountability for this outcome, he now crusades against it, suggesting the negotiations he was a part of were closed, “back room” deal-making sessions.

   His alternative — until the past month or two — was a dogged insistence   that the state water rights adjudication process be finalized, for what he predicted would be a better outcome.

   Consider the recent historic record on this matter. In a Dec. 4, 2011 article carried by the Herald and News, Mallams said, “A 1979 water right has no value. A 1990 water right is not worth the paper to start your fire with. I’m one of those who is going to have to pay a price. But that was a business decision I made. We’re all held accountable for our own business decisions.”

   Mallams further said the real impact of this proposed order won’t be evident until contestants examine the confirmed claims, but he said adjudication   gave upper Basin irrigators a better result than signing onto the KBRA would have.

   “There are going to be winners and losers in adjudication,” Mallams told the paper. “That’s just the way it is.”

   As a contestant to the Tribes’ claims, Mallams continued, he thinks the adjudication process would not provide even close to the amount of water the Tribes were claiming (emphasis added).

   In another Herald and News article that ran a week later, Mallams was quoted as saying, “Even if (the final determination) does hurt the irrigators, we’re so much better off than where we would have been without the adjudication. A vocal contingency of opponents has said it will fight for adjudication, not the KBRA, to be the final word.”

   Well that “vocal contingency,” led by our now-county commissioner, got what they asked for. But now they want a do-over. Mallams and his “contingency” have recently filed a stay (an order to not enforce the adjudication) with the circuit court.

   They seek to make sure the family farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project continue to carry the environmental   baggage for all water users in the Basin. They want their junior water rights to continue on as a de-facto senior right.

   We need leadership from elected officials, not favoritism and implied threats of violence. The KBRA would address all of these issues in a measured and orderly fashion. Instead of the potential for total water shut-off in the upper Basin, the KBRA sought, roughly, a voluntary and compensated 15 percent reduction in off-Project water use.

   Mallams rejected the KBRA and instead advocated for adjudication to be the final word. Well, he got it.

   Leaders in the Klamath Project irrigation community chose another path and took care of business as it relates to water issues.  

   We chose to negotiate with those we have disagreements with and not leave our future to an unknown and risky process.

   If bad things happen, or if there is violence, someone absolutely should be held accountable. However, it should not be those who are legally exercising their rights to water, and it should not be the state of Oregon for upholding a longstanding property-right based law.  





In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Tuesday May 28, 2013 02:54 PM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2013, All Rights Reserved