Legislative Coalition Organizes Trip to Bucket Brigade

April 2001

 (Salem)  A coalition of Oregon lawmakers is organizing a trip to help farmers in the Klamath Basin haul water during their big Bucket Brigade on Monday, May 7th, 2001. "We need to stand by our drought stricken constituents in their hour of need," said State Representative Tom Butler (R-Ontario)

 Representative Butler, Representative Bill Garrard (R-Klamath Falls) and Representative Jeff Kropf (R-Halsey) along with Senator Steve Harper (R-Klamath Falls) have invited several of their colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join them. Senator Harper said, "We are trying to get state office holders to understand what we're up against. We've been battling the federal government for a long time, now it's time to get the state more involved in the process."

The Bureau of Reclamation turned off the flow from Klamath Lake in early April, leaving thousands of farm families high and dry. An estimated 200,000 acres are impacted, and the economic loss to the region will be over $100 million. Representative Garrard notes, "this is all because the feds are worried about the sucker fish in the Lake. They should be more concerned about the endangered farmer."

 Harper and Garrard have drafted memorials to Congress requesting a review of the Endangered Species Act and calling for more federal assistance. Those memorials will be up for votes on the House and Senate Floors on Monday at the same time folks will be gathering in Klamath Falls for the brigade.

 "I am going to the Bucket Brigade to support family farms being crushed by the weight of a federal law that refuses to balance the needs of people with threatened species," said Representative Kropf. Up to 10,000 people are expected to turn out for the Brigade, which will stretch 5 miles to the irrigation canal.

 Legislative leaders and possibly some statewide office holders are expected to go along on the trip. Transportation and timeline are still being organized.  Watch for updates in the days ahead.