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Walden's press conference in Klamath Falls regarding the ESA Bill HR 3824
by KBC News 9/20/05, with
words from Congressman Greg Walden, Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Greg Addington, Klamath County Commissioner John Elliott, Klamath District Attorney Ed Caleb, former State Senator Steve Harper, regarding the House Committee on Resources bill TESRA, HR3824, to improve the Endangered Species Act. These were from questions and answers and also from interviews with KBC News yesterday at Walden's press conference at the Klamath County Courthouse. 

 

KBC NEWS: Words from Congressman Greg Walden, Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Greg Addington, Klamath County Commissioner John Elliott, Klamath District Attorney Ed Caleb, former State Senator Steve Harper, regarding the House Committee on Resources bill TESRA, HR3824, to improve the Endangered Species Act. These words were from questions and answers and also from interviews by KBC News yesterday at Walden's press conference at the Klamath County Courthouse. 9/20/05.

Klamath Courier Photo by Pat Ratliff

Herald and News photo by Gary Thain



The following press release provides the substance of Congressman Greg Walden's speech on the Klamath Falls courthouse steps September 19, 2005:
PRESS RELEASE: Walden Backs Bipartisan ESA Modernization Measure, Says "32-Year-Old Law Needs Fixing" 9/19/05
TESRA fixes the long-outstanding problems of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by

(1) focusing on species recovery
(2) providing incentives
(3) increasing openness and accountability
(4) strengthening scientific standards
(5) creating bigger roles for state and local governments
(6) protecting private property owners and
(7) eliminating dysfunctional critical habitat designations.

Congressman Greg Walden: statements or answers to questions after his speech, unveiling the ESA improvement plan to the Klamath Basin:
Q: How different is this bill from other efforts to reform the ESA?
A: "This puts a standard, a foundation, under all decisions by establishing a scientific criteria that applies everywhere when the ESA is being used for whatever purpose. And it requires The Secretary to establish by rule the criteria for that science to determine what's best....you don't need a bunch of politicians telling the scientists how to determine what science is"
Being listed under the Endangered Species Act "is like the Eagle's song 'Hotel California;' you can get in and you can't get out."
Resulting from lawsuits, "Fish and Wildlife have designated huge swaths of land as critical habitat before they've ever written a recovery plan."
Q: How will this bill benefit species and improve the act?
A: In 2001, here they found after the NAS peer review, decisions weren't based on best available science and probably shouldn't have been made.  We know what they did to the farmers. We also know that if you dump warm water into the Klamath River at the wrong time and the wrong amount, you run the risk of killing the very fish you're supposed to be helping.  And the same with lake levels on the lake. What this (bill) does is say we're going to get to the best science before the decisions..."  "Sound science means better decisions and better recovery for the species." "It (the bill) will allow farmers to do conservation projects on their property and have certainty for water."
"This will build cooperation where it doesn't exist today and will build certainty where it doesn't exist today."
"It provides compensation where there is a loss, that doesn't exist today"
"You get better scientific data in place that's reliable that you can count on that's not their today."
"There will be sound science under every decision; that takes the politics out of a lot of the decisions. Administrations come and go."
There will be programs for private land owners, incentives on private property. Species don't know the difference between private and public land.
Q: What's wrong with the ESA?
A: The law the way it is isn't working. "If you're going to build a highway through somebody's ranch, you got compensated for it.  This is the Highway of the ESA and you get told to just take it..."
Q: How much opposition do you expect?
A: There were news releases issued against issues before the final bill was out
Q: Why did it take 30 years to reform the ESA?
A: There are groups out there who frankly want no change because they like to lock things up and they don't like to solve problems."
There are less people in the West with less representation per area, so the ESA "applies in the West more than in the East...and in rural areas more than the urban areas."

KBC interview with Klamath County Commissioner Elliott:
"It's a great day and it's long overdue...I remember getting a call from Senator Hatfield in 2001 saying the way the ESA was utilized was not the intention of the legislation.  So this is maybe a step back in the way it was really intended to work, and that was to protect the endangered species and not to force people off their lands."

KBC statement from Greg Addington, Klamath Water Users Executive Director
This is very good news...it means alot with legislation of this magnatude he (Walden) would come here and unveil it at a place that's obviously very near and dear to him as well." We'll be working with Congress to see how we can help.

Klamath District Attorney Ed Caleb:
Walden is absolutely right; if you're going to have an act that purports to save species from be extinct or even close to being extinct, you have to make sure you have the right data before you do it or you can't make those types of decisions. Before you based (decisions) on the politics of it or who can get to the courthouse first.. You need to have the correct data and we need to have some sort of balancing when human lives are involved.  Everybody wants to  protect endangered species and we need to have the right science available. That's what I heard today."

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