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RE:  August 22nd U.S. Department of Interior “Listening Session”  at Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon

By  Senator Doug Whitsett, Oregon District 28, August 27, 2006

Gail and I traveled to Redmond last Tuesday to address the “listening session” hosted by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne regarding management of our nation’s natural resources.

I reminded Secretary Kempthorne and Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey that many generations of farmers, foresters, and fishers have used our natural resources wisely and productively to produce food and fiber for our people. I told them that in less than one generation of resource management by non-resource users those resources have become unsustainable. Our forests are burning out of control, our coastal salmon fishery has crashed, and the Biological opinions that the National Academy of Sciences discovered were not based on accurate and reproducible science five years ago continue to be enforced in the Klamath Basin with catastrophic economic and cultural consequences.

I told the Secretaries that resource users must be once again included in resource management if those resources are to be sustained for future generations.

That “listening session” was attended by more than 200 Oregon citizens including more than a dozen from the Upper Klamath Basin. Almost 150 of them stood at the microphone and spoke to the secretaries. Well over 90% of those speakers represented the natural resources dependent businesses and industries of Oregon.

The speakers were articulate and well informed. Their united message was loud and clear. That message was that current government management of our Nation’s natural resources is not working for us. It is not working for the forests, not working for the watersheds, not working for the endangered species, and certainly is not working for our people.

Gail and I were proud to be a part of that united effort.

Unfortunately, the print media coverage of the event was virtually non-existent. It has long been true that where ever two environmentalists meet there too shall be the press. Meanwhile, the more than 200 well informed Oregon citizens who travel from all parts of our state to speak to these national policy makers were uniformly snubbed by our national, state and most local media.


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