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    Interior Secretary Zinke to meet with local officials Saturday

Klamath County commissioners will be among those who speak with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Saturday when Zinke visits the Medford area to address land use issues in Southern Oregon.

Zinke’s visit comes amid concerns about the recent expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument as well as the federal government’s obligations to fulfill terms of the OC&E Lands Act.

Commissioner Donnie Boyd said monument expansion will be on the list of topics he broaches with Zinke given the impact it has had on Klamath County.

“I think that the expansion of the monument was government overreach and we need to scale back the monument,” said Boyd.

Approved by former President Barak Obama Jan. 12, the expansion added 48,000 acres to the monument, including 43,000 acres of timberland in Klamath and Jackson counties. Boyd said he would like to see the expansion undone so the land would again be available for commercial timber harvesting.

Boyd said he will also speak with Zinke about ongoing disputes regarding local water resources. Boyd said water settlements between local irrigators, ranchers and tribal members have been “in limbo” and it will take the authority of the federal government to move a solution forward.

“Everyone in Klamath County needs to have an end to this and a solution that works for all parties,” said Boyd.

Boyd said Commissioners Kelley Minty Morris and Derrick DeGroot plan to bring up their own concerns during Zinke’s visit, as well as other local officials. Boyd said he hoped the meeting with Zinke will ultimately prove the Department of the Interior is wiling to work with the people of Klamath County.





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