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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Some gave up a lot, some a little

February 6, 2008 Letter to Editor Herald and News by Bruce Wirth
Regarding the Klamath water settlement:

All the “reasonable” people, including the Herald and News, feel that the settlement is “reasonable.” Dare we question that?

We read that the 26 stakeholders have compromised and given up some demands — a give-and-take deal. Well, what have the Tribes, the fishermen’s association, and the assorted environmental organizations given up — zilch, nada, nothing?

What have the Klamath Project irrigators, the upstream irrigators and off-project irrigators (using wells, reservoirs and springs) given up? Control of their water rights and the rights to the water adjudication process, which at least gives the right of appeal.

Removal of the dams on the Klamath River will result in even higher power rates. The power company won’t pay those costs.

In return, the new managers will manage the water according to the “needs” of the salmon and other species with “needs” of the irrigators being served as much as the managers deem to be reasonable and possible.

Also a number of acres must be retired from irrigation. The buyout of these water rights to be funded by — you guessed it — the taxpayer.

Anyone who believes that Klamath Falls can go without forest products (thanks to the spotted owl) and reliable agriculture, including cattle and hay, can think again.

One last point: With demand for energy so high and with coal and oil-fired generation facilities a no-no, why tear out generating plants using water power?

Bruce Wirth

Klamath Falls

    Editor’s note: The Herald and News has congratulated the stakeholders for their efforts, but has not taken an editorial stand on the proposal other than to urge those involved to study it and ask questions.

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