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

Dear Family Farm Alliance Supporters in the Columbia River Basin:

An important congressional hearing and rally to save the dams on the Columbia and Snake River Systems are planned for next Monday, June 6, 2005 starting at 8:00 a.m. in Clarkston, Washington. Please participate and forward this information to others.

RALLY BEFORE THE HEARING

When:             Monday, June 6, 2005 at 8:00 a.m.

Where:            Meet at the parking lot to show your support, Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center, 700 Port Drive, in Clarkston, next to Costco.

This is a great opportunity to show Congress and the media that real people want the rivers used for everyone. The environmental activists have already caught wind of this event and are planning a rally of their own. Please ask your friends and neighbors to join our rally. Then, go inside and support those testifying at the hearing.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Water and Power will conduct a field hearing on "Keeping the Columbia/Snake a Working River" in Clarkston, Washington, on Monday, June 6, 2005 at 9:30 a.m. Quality Inn and Suites Conference Center,700 Port Drive, in Clarkston. The hearing will focus on the many economic, cultural and natural activities that make the Columbia/Snake a working river system. Discussion will also address the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and a recent federal court decision on salmon in the Columbia/Snake River system.

BACKGROUND

The Columbia/Snake River system serves as the vital economic, cultural and environmental backbone of the Pacific Northwest. As envisioned under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and subsequent Presidential Administrations in the 1960s and 1970s, this unique system provides electricity and irrigation and serves as a vital navigational link for agricultural and timber exports through inland ports like Clarkston, WA and Lewiston, ID.

The region struggles with restoring endangered species and protecting economic livelihoods. For years, the environmental community has rallied around breaching four Snake River Dams in an effort to restore salmon fisheries. Removal of these dams on the Snake River would place a heavy economic burden on the electricity ratepayers and farmers in the region.

This hearing will provide an opportunity to explore how species may be conserved while ensuring economic stability. The recovery efforts put forth by the federal government have been met with lawsuits over the past decade and Federal District Court Judge James Redden recently struck down the latest salmon recovery plan. He will hold a hearing June 10 to discuss alternative ways to protect salmon. The environmental community has used this latest decision as a rallying cry to remove the Snake River Dams.

POTENTIAL WITNESSES

The witness list is still being developed, but we know for sure that Norm Semanko, Executive Director of the Idaho Water Users Association, president of the National Water Resources Association, and a member of the Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee, has been invited to testify at the hearing.  There will also be representatives from the Washington Farm Bureau, the timber industry, Columbia River ports, local government and business, tribes, and the environmental community.

QUOTABLES

"Our Northwest river systems are a critical part of our region's economy and important for transportation, irrigation and recreation. Monday's hearing will enable us to hear, first hand, how best to balance protecting endangered species while preserving our way of life."

Congresswoman McMorris (R-WA), who represents the Clarkston, WA region

"Like clockwork in the Central Valley of California and now on Snake River, lawsuit abuse threatens to empower a federal judge to manage water flows and throw dam breaching back on the table to cause even further imbalance for our economy and our ecosystems. As we found in the Klamath basin, destroying a hard-working community is not the answer to resolving ESA issues. Science and expertise should determine our course, not litigation."

Subcommittee Chairman George Radanovich (R-CA)

"The recent federal court ruling that invalidated NOAA Fisheries' November 2004 biological opinion threatens this Administration's consistent commitment to balancing salmon recovery with the economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest. I'm hopeful that this hearing will put the court's ruling, as well as such critical issues as meeting the needs of power generation, population growth, irrigation and transportation, in context for the people of our region."

Congressman Butch Otter (R-ID).

"Those who call the Pacific Northwest home know we can have both fish recovery and clean, low-cost hydropower - we understand this is not an either-or-situation. Local residents deserve a meaningful role in how our resources are managed and this hearing will help provide that opportunity."

Congressman Doc Hastings (R), who represents Central Washington

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the rally, contact Gayle Batt at (208) 344-6690.
For hearing information, call Brian Kennedy or Jennifer Zuccarelli at (202) 226-9019.
For more information on the Water and Power Subcommittee, please visit: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/subcommittees/wp.htm

Thanks for all of your help.

 

Dan Keppen

Executive Director

 

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