Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
farmers cheer Bush win
Herald and News 11/2/04
By DYLAN DARLING
Sen. John Kerryıs call to concede the 2004 presidential race to President Bush was welcome news this morning to many involved with the ongoing Klamath water issues.
³I think (Bush) has understood the issues of the Klamath Basin at a personal level,² said Dave Solem, Klamath Irrigation District manager.
Since the tense summer of 2001, when the federal government withheld water from farms in the Klamath Reclamation Project, members of the Bush administration have said solutions for water issues need to come from the places they affect.
Many in the Klamath agricultural community cheered Bushıs re-election this morning.
But now, it is time to get back to work on finding a solution, said Becky Hyde, whose family has a ranch east of Chiloquin.
³The burden lies squarely on us to reach outside of our interest groups and create solutions that bring hope back to our communities,² she said. ³I really think that the administration is waiting for our communities to get their act together.²
Chuck Wells, a community activist and a Democrat who lives near Chiloquin, said the administration will need to work with the differing interests from the Upper Klamath Basin to the mouth of the Klamath River at the Pacific Ocean to get to a solution.
³We still are going to have to work it out with the players here,² Wells said.
He said he was disappointed Kerry, a Democratic U.S. senator from Massachusetts, didnıt win the election.
³I guess we will have to keep on working for the next time,² he said.
With the Bush administration staying in place, there wonıt be a need to replace old bureaucrats with new ones. That will benefit the entire Klamath River watershed, said Rob Crawford, a Tulelake farmer.
³This is no time for transition periods,² he said.
On Oct. 13, Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced an agreement between the states of Oregon and California and federal agencies to work toward a solution in the Klamath water struggle.
³Now this process can go on without being interrupted,² Crawford said.
The summer of 2001 was the transition period from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.
Steve Kandra, president of the Klamath Water Users Association, said those involved with the Klamath water issues will continue to work with agency officials, bureaucracy and policies that are familiar to them.
³This time we donıt have the change,² he said. ³That really is problematic for the agency folks as they wait for the policy to be put into place.²
Solem agreed with Crawford and Kandra.
³Now is the time to hammer out the details and not change things to a new direction,² Solem said.
Sam Henzel, who farms near Midland with his brother Thurston Henzel, said it doesnıt really matter who is president in terms of coming to a solution for the Klamath. Although the Bush administration has been involved, its officials havenıt really come up with a definitive solution, he said.
Regardless, he said he is hopeful and optimistic that a solution will be found.
³Itıs going to take a lot of funding in the Klamath Basin,² he said.
For the Klamath Tribes, the continuation of the Bush administration will also hopefully mean a continuation of high level attention on the Klamath issues, said Allen Foreman, chairman of the Klamath Tribes.
He said the Bush administration had made many commitments in the Klamath Basin and is hopeful they will be carried out.
Along with talks with the federal government about water issues concerning endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and tribal trust agreements, the Tribes have been in discussions about the possibility of a restored reservation over the last several years. The Tribes reservation was abolished in the early 1960s after the Tribes were terminated in the 1950s. The Tribes were restored to federal recognition in 1986, but did not regain ownership of a reservation.
³Iım personally glad that the election is over, because those talks have been put on hold because of the election,² Foreman said.
Now that the election is over those discussions should start up again, he said.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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