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July 17, 2003 (916) 786-5560

Doolittle Defends Klamath Basin Farmers

on House Floor

Washington, D.C. – Joined by Representatives Wally Herger (CA-2) and Greg Walden (OR-2), Representative John Doolittle defended the Klamath Basin agriculture community against an attack by the radical environmental community on the floor of the House of Representatives. The anti-agriculture measure, proposed by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) as an amendment to the Department of Interior appropriations bill, sought to prohibit funds from being used for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enter into new commercial leases on the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges in Southern Oregon and Northern California that permit the growing of row crops or alfalfa. The amendment failed by a vote of 197 to 228. Doolittle said the following after the vote:

"Frankly, this amendment would have set a frightening precedent of federal command and control over farming in the Klamath Basin. Having the government dictating what farmers can or cannot grow, regardless of market conditions, would mark a clear move away from economic freedom as well as good farming practices.  Today, the target was beleaguered farmers in Southern Oregon and Northern California.  Who’s to say that tomorrow they won’t be trying to tell auto mechanics what model of cars to repair or grocery vendors what kind of food to sell?"

Herger added, "Far from being agriculture-neutral, had we not stopped this amendment, the Klamath Basin community may have suffered an economic drought of devastating proportions. Armed with no more than baseless claims, the radical environmentalists continue their mission to find any way possible to drive our farmers out of business."

Speaking on the floor of the House, Herger remarked, " Shortages are not the result of an over allocation. They are the result of environmental laws that do not allow for balance. For a hundred years all interests in the Klamath Basin – farmers, fish and refuges – have gotten by together, sharing the pain and the profit alike. It was not until 2001 that the Endangered Species Act caused some interests to do without."

In addition to today’s defense of the farmers, Doolittle, Herger, and Walden have worked to earmark  millions of dollars to address the Klamath Basin’s water problems in the House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.  Currently included in the bill, which goes to a vote on the floor of the House tomorrow, are:


·        $3 million for the Klamath Project Water Bank program;

·        $2.6 million for the Klamath Basin Emergency Operation and Maintenance Reimbursement;

·        $500,000 for long-term water management planning for the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges; and

·        $11 million for the Water 2025 program, which includes a pilot project for water conservation measures in the Klamath Project.








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