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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

"My rebuttal to Mr. Intiso is included in the following column:"

by Siskiyou County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong 8/15/09
WILLIAMSON ACT: The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to renew existing Williamson Act contracts. Without any action, the contracts would renew automatically, but the Board wanted to send a clear message of support to our agricultural community. In this time of so many stresses upon our family farms in the form of waves of regulations, rising input costs and depressed commodity prices, we felt that it was psychologically important to demonstrate that we fully recognize the importance to agriculture as the main driver of our local economy. Ag income is spent in local shops and ranch and farm families provide important and stable contributions to the social and cultural fabric of our communities. For some, the loss of the Williamson Act program would be a tipping point for the viability of their operation. Development of farm and ranchlands into houses or ranchettes would mean a loss of open space vistas and wildland habitat and would have a great impact of the quality of all of our lives.

At this time, the Board will wait to approve any new additions to Williamson Act contracts. Our Assemblyman Nielsen has been a leader in the battle to continue Williamson Act funding to the Counties, which was cut from the budget by the Governor.  Hopefully, subvention funding will be reinstated in the near future.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS BUSINESS PLAN REQUIREMENTS: In an effort to ease the regulatory burden on many ag operations, the Siskiyou County Environmental Health Division and the Ag Dept. have been working with the Farm Bureau and the Fire Chief’s Association on an ag exemption from the Hazard Materials Business Plan Requirements. Most ag businesses will qualify, leading to an exemption from reporting requirements, inspections and fees.

KLAMATH RIVER TMDL: The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors will be holding a public meeting on August 25 at 9 a.m. to consider proposed comments on the Klamath River Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) under the Clean Water Act. Deadline for receipt of comments to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB) is August 27. waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/water_issues/programs/tmdls/klamath_river/ 

Under “watershed-wide” requirements, the proposed TMDLs further regulates all ranchers, timber managers, irrigated agriculturalists, suction dredge miners and anyone with a road in the Klamath River basin in Siskiyou County. (This is in addition to the existing TMDLs in  the Scott and the Shasta Valleys.) The NCRWQCB is scheduled to meet in Siskiyou County on September 10 at the Grenada Community Berean Church at 512 6th St. in Grenada. (Time is not yet posted on their website)

RESPONSE TO MISSTATEMENTS BY THE PUBLIC: (1) County coordination provisions do not apply to settlement agreement processes – such as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) or the Agreement in Principle (AIP) on the dams. Settlement is when opposing litigants in a lawsuit or potential lawsuit come together to settle out of court. (2) The provisions related to coordination outlined in the County’s Resolution http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/coordination.htm generally apply to specific agencies doing specific types of activities. For instance, the Federal Land Management Act was intended to apply to the management of federal lands – such as those that are managed by the Bureau of land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. They do not apply to a private utility in the operation of its hydro-facility. (3) The version of the Klamath Basin Restoration Act being negotiated in the settlement process which is circulated by klamathbasincrisis.org is an old version. Siskiyou County has submitted 13 pages of requested changes to this year’s versions. There have been frequent language changes as negotiation continues and the final version is still in process. (3) After a March 25, 2008 public hearing, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected an earlier version of the KBRA. (4) The final AIP and KBRA will be released to the public prior to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors meeting in a future public hearing to consider whether or not it wishes to be a signatory to the final agreements. (5) Siskiyou County has never waived its coordination rights. The federal government will still have to coordinate during the implementing process after settlement. An important stage of that is the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) environmental impact analysis on the impact of dam removal and various provisions in the KBRA.
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