Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
June 6, 2005 73rd Session, Issue 12
From Senator Doug
Whitsett, District 28
The light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view and with some hard work and a concerted effort to set aside partisan games, the legislature should be able to finish our work relatively soon. Even as things begin to wind down, I am pleased to announce significant progress on a some very important bills.
The Oregon House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 81 which has been amended to include Rate Shock protection for irrigators whose contract with PacifiCorp ends next year. These irrigators face power rate increases of 2000 percent if some mitigation is not provided. I have worked diligently to provide this necessary safety net for these hardworking and responsible Oregonians. I am optimistic about passage of this legislation.
Many of you have received or heard abut a news release from the Oregon Natural Resource council about this legislation. As you can likely imagine the falsehoods in the release far outnumbered the facts, but the release also implied that these irrigators have failed to practice good stewardship over this important natural resource.
Those are utterly baseless assertions that I simply could not allow to go unanswered. You can see my entire statement in response to the ONRC release below. For now, just let me say that the Klamath project is one of the most efficient Bureau of Reclamation Projects in the entire country and any implication of waste or misuse is laughable.
The other key bill that I have worked very hard on this session is Senate Bill 527 which has passed out of Committee and will receive a full vote on the Senate floor very soon. This has been called the Oregon Fair Energy Act and will correct the obvious imbalance that currently exists between the state and local governments regarding energy siting. The case of the COB plant siting in Klamath provides compelling evidence that local governments are completely without a voice when it comes to Department of Energy decisions regarding facility siting.
While this bill will not affect the COB plant, many of you know that the Supreme Court recently heard our case and is now considering the matter. The purpose of this legislation is to save other communities from having to appeal the Supreme Court in order to be heard about energy siting. The prospects for passage of Senate Bill 527 in the Senate look good.
Neither of these bills have been easy to navigate through the process, but I am pleased with the work we have done and hope to report on their passage soon.
Senator’s Statement in Response to ONRC News Release
Senator Whitsett Sets the Record Straight
Salem –On Thursday Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) responded to what he described as false statements laid out in a press release by the Oregon Natural Resources Council regarding Senate Bill 81. An amendment to the bill which is supported by Whitsett provides rate mitigation to Klamath Irrigators who face rate increases of up to 2000 percent if action is not taken.
“I am willing and able to have a vigorous debate on the wisdom of certain policy options,” says Senator Whitsett. “What I am not willing to do is sit quietly while the ONRC makes up facts and spreads falsehoods about the hardworking men and women of the Klamath Basin who make their livelihood in agriculture.”
The following is a list of the accusations made by the ONRC as well as the actual facts of the situation in the Klamath Basin.
You can view the ONRC release at the following site: http://www.onrc.org/alerts/221.klamath.html
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Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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