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 What do they think they're doing - the shocking truth

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

To the Editor of Pioneer Press by Larry Toelle, Fort Jones

After digesting over 250 pages of legalistic and bureaucratic prose, the result of "two years" of secret negotiations between environmental groups, various government actors, tribes, and the wayward Klamath Water User's Association, you can't help but ask: "What do they think they're doing?" The answer is found in Appendix B "Schedule and Budget."

The shocker, of course, is Appendix D "Hydropower Agreement", the dam removal plan. Referenced throughout the agreement, Appendix D seems to be the object of eveyone's affection. Frankly, little else is discussed. Those signing into this agreement, agree to use their best efforts to carry out the "Hydropower Plan" and protect the agreement, come hell or high water.

Unbelievable as it is, Appendix D does not yet exist. That's right, the Hydropower Agreement, the apparent purpose of this agreement, only exists in the minds of those who negotiated for two years. So, "Where's the beef?"

The beef, of course, is found in the budget. Here, you'll find what these folks are really after. It is chock-full of goodies for environmentalists, tribes and yes, Klamath Basin irrigators, those tribes and irrigators who have the right credentials, that is. Woe be to the rest of us.

Apparently, the originators of this document felt they could stampede the politicians into a corral, squeeze them, and the Eagle would poop out some bucks for their cause. Not a bad plan, but straining in both credulity and credibility. Or perhaps, the politicians were looking for some cover, and this agreement might provide it. How do you spell "earmark?"

Not surprising, the government actors were/are careful to exclude themselves from any real responsibility. Careful to not sign-in, they seem only to want to sign-on to the agreement. There are, after all, huge budget increases for their departments.

For those of us who pay attention to this sort of nonsense, most bet that this dog won't hunt.

It might make a good pet for some deserving environmentalist, but that's about it.

Speculating is dangerous, but if we were to speculate, then we'd have to speculate that there's more to come out of these "secret" negotiations, or should we say "manipulations."

Of course, we'll complain loudly. We'll jump up and down, throw a fit, and expend more energy than is necessary to see this thing go away. That's OK, we've done it before. If we're smart however, we'll pay close attention to what is being said, and who says and does what. The devil here, is in the details. There are big bucks on the table, powerful players, and some not-so-honest folks behind those closed doors.

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