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Here are my comments which were sent to Sonken relative to the ESA Oversight Hearing


To:  Lori Sonken

From:  Rudy Hiley

Re:  Hearing Oversight – “Endangered Species Act Implementation:  Science or Politics?”

Please include the following comments in the hearing record:

The ESA brought much hope and promise when it became law.  Unfortunately it seems to have become less like the means of reasonable protection which it was intended to be and more like a mirror image of our current legal system; a system where the truth could be likened to a ping pong ball in the middle of a long table surrounded by vacuum nozzles - each trying to budge it their way.  Add to that the current questionable nature of scientific inquiry upon which most ESA legal decisions are based and one finds that science has become something which sucks at the truth as well.  The bottom line is that law and science as respects this important amendment have sadly left their intended station and have devolved into something more akin to agenda driven patrician politics. 

I firmly believe in patrician wrangling as it is far better to work things out through words than steel.  Still, if our adversarial system of governance fails to honorably uphold and protect the rights of American citizens (which should always be at the center of their debate) then it is time for those involved to cease warring against the citizenry and do the right thing!   

I, like so many others in the Klamath Basin and across our great nation have suffered loss and despair because of the strategic engagement of political science and social science in lieu of legitimate scientific reasoning as interpreted by what appears to be the law of the land.  Science appears to have been carefully combined with the legal power of the ESA so as to placate something besides truth, fairness and constitutional rights.  If used aright the analytical discovery process could have ramped into the sort of evenhandedness which naturally stems from qualified scientific and legal inquiry and its potential relative certainties.  Yet quite honestly I am sickened by the seemingly shameful and dishonest faux science/legal process which has been used against our irrigation community and those whom their effort and risk support.

Yes, I find the ethical breeches against the citizens of the Klamath region to be beyond neglect or incompetence and verge well into the territory of treason. How is it possible that a balanced scientific opinion and its legal affirmation could be arrived at in the Klamath Basin without noting the need and taking the time to gather DEEP core samples?   Samples which could definitively reveal verifiable hydrologic and geologic history of the vicinity!  Maybe such would stand in the way of opinions and resultant court decisions which seem to obscure truth and justice and lead to oppression!  Maybe the villainy accused upon Klamath irrigators would be turned into heroics if complete scientific research was utilized and accepted?  What if the “scientifically” established and ESA mandated “historic” Klamath Lake and River levels were unjustifiably high and/or a complete falsification?

I find it pathetic if not criminal to allow and legally protect the growth of thirsty trees and vegetation in tributary stream and spring watersheds which deplete and reduce what was once an approximate (cold and clear) 85% of Klamath River flow.  How can it be that such a pure and natural water source is reduced to a mere 15% or so whilst the irrigation community is assigned blame for poor basin and river water quality?   How can it be, that in this de facto way a choice has been made between trees and water and thus trees and fish, and no one in authority seemed to notice?  In the United States of America how can that be?

I find it criminal (many, many, many civil rights have been offended) if not pathetic that no credit is allowed to the irrigation community for providing the dam which has enabled Klamath Lake to NOW contribute 85% or so of river flow, on a volcanically degraded quality yet continual and consistent basis – a basis which was not possible under NATURAL CONDITIONS!  Would one be fair and just and honest to consider that hydroelectric power production would not be feasible without said dam?  Have Basin irrigators found justice there either?

You may even wonder why it has taken so long to see a scientific acknowledgement of the fact that deep area lakes and valleys were filled in when Crater Lake was formed and other area volcanoes loosed their mass.  A mass which includes that natural algae producing fertilizer known as phosphorous!  Maybe it is just too difficult to get around the documented records of early Basin visitors and explorers and surveyors who complained of putrid water conditions?  Maybe some have been just vocal enough about that informational deficit to inspire some action?

The list goes on and on and still there does not seem to be the essential balance within the application of the ESA as it now stands to justly consider the possibility that the Klamath etc. project irrigators are not ultimately culpable for poor area water depth and quality, or even to the contrary that they may have actually improved conditions.  As some of you may be aware, they were falsely accused (by some) of causing fish kills as well.

I am still wondering how it can be that the findings of the National Academy of Sciences have been thrown out in the process of understanding the big Klamath ESA picture.?. Maybe they prefer stream flow studies which have been shown to be faulty, yet consistent with their desired findings?   Maybe the Academy made the mistake of honestly declaring that the 2001 irrigation water shut off was scientifically unjustified?  Facts are not always ALLOWED to get in the way of a social and/or political agenda it seems.

Yes, something is seriously wrong with the ESA!   Like it or not, the ESA has managed to provide certain individuals, groups and departments etc. with grievously hostile and dangerously unrestrained power!  It has become destructive to certain guaranteed pursuits!  The Endangered Species Act must be rectified because it has fallen from an intended means of protection and balance, to one of insurgent destruction aimed at honest and productive citizens of the Untied States of America.  That goes against everything which this Nation stands for! 

Respectfully submitted,



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