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Letter to Secretary John Laird asks where state Klamath funds will originate
 
by David Smith, Siskiyou Daily News 2/18/11
 
Yreka, Calif. -  A new letter from the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is looking for answers from the new secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency.
 
The letter, addressed to Secretary John Laird, states that the board is concerned that Laird will seek sources of funding to cover California's contribution under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which calls for a number of studies to determine if four Klamath River dams should be removed.
 
The state is expected to contribute $250 million under the agreement, an amount that was included in a water bond that has now been pushed to 2012, the deadline year for making the dam removal decision.
 
The board's letter states, "It has come to the attention of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors that your office may be undertaking review of existing bonds and other State funds to attempt to utilize these monies to fund California's commitment to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement
(KBRA) and" the KHSA.
 
The letter goes on to state that the board is concerned that grant funds approved before the Klamath agreements were drafted will be used to cover the costs without voter approval.
 
"Respectfully, it is the position of the Board of Supervisors that it is inappropriate to circumvent not only the will of the voters of Siskiyou County with respect to the Klamath dams, but also to attempt to circumvent the electoral process and deprive the citizens of California the opportunity to state with their vote whether they support $250 million for the removal of currently operating hydroelectric facilities," the letter reads.
 
The letter concludes by requesting that Laird's office contact the board and confirm or deny whether or not it is pursuing other sources of funding within 30 days.
 
The Daily News contacted the Natural Resources Agency Thursday for more information, but the office had not yet received the board's letter.
 
- David Smith can be reached at dsmith@siskiyoudaily.com
 
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