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The Pioneer Press at the very top of the State of California grants permission for this article to be copied and forwarded.
Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California, State of Jefferson Rancher May 31, 2006, Summer 2006 issue, Page 13, column 1
Greenhorn Grange hosts new coalition meeting
By Liz Bowen, Rancher Editor
YREKA, Calif. – “We are here to form a coalition,” said Jim Foley, organizer of a proposed new coalition that will cross many boundaries. Foley is the president of the National Land Rights League.
The meeting was held on May 23 at the Greenhorn Grange in Siskiyou County.
Gold miners, farmers, businesses, timber, two factions of Shasta Indians, leaders of communities and local governments along with scientists voiced the need to join forces.
The most impressive information from the meeting came from Joe Greene, a retired scientist from the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency. It was about the 2002 salmon die-off down on the Yurok Tribal Reservation. An estimated 32,000 salmon died during a hot September, when a huge population of chinook salmon were returning up the Klamath River. Unfortunately, several Tribes, enviro advocates and government agencies have touted the death count as double – up to 68,000. And the number seems to be growing as the years increase.
“You have been steam-rolled,” said Greene, who explained the intricacies of salmon population.
But at the end, he showed through government documents, how the biggest reason for the deaths of so many adult salmon was actually due to chemicals dumped in the river. Whether it was planned or by accident, the Tribes and enviros have used the salmon kill to their advantage blaming farmers for poor water quality.
Greene began his research after being told that rumors had ran rampant immediately after the salmon kill that the Crystal Palace, an illegal methamphetamine lab on Opah Creek, had dumped its garbage of chemicals. It was alleged by many residents that the meth dump had killed the salmon.
When was all said and done, the government had tested for chemicals from pesticides and herbicides, but had not tested for any of the chemicals from an illegal meth dump. There were no chemicals in the fish from pesticides or herbicides.
What is also interesting, according to Greene, is that the state and federal governments were so slow to react. The California Department of Fish and Game did not test the water in the stretch of Klamath River on the Yurok Reservation until seven days later. They did confiscate a number of salmon for testing. But, even worse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service only showed up 15 days later to test the water and took one salmon for sampling.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates a regional office on the coast not too far distant from the salmon kill, so individuals wondered why it took them so long to arrive.
The 2002 year was still a bumper crop, which records can prove. More than 100,000 salmon made it to the Trinity and Iron Gate Hatcheries and tributaries. But this huge return is not noted in liberal media articles, said Green.
Also speaking at the meeting was Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County district 5 supervisor; Dave McCracken of the New 49ers gold miners; Gary Lake of the Shasta Tribe; Richard Gierak of ICU property rights group.
Foley closed up the meeting by saying that he is only one man and cannot create this new broader coalition alone.
“There are people within each organization that
have the talent, resources and the will to fight.
Alone they will not prevail, but united and
standing strong, we can even turn the tide that
has been building against us for over 40 years,”
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