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Senate hearing called for water issues

Goal of discussions to gather input from Klamath Basin residents

by DEVAN SCHWARTZ, Herald and News 5/17/13

Senate hearing called for water issues; Goal of discussions to gather input from Klamath Basin residents, H&N 5/17/13. "Glen Spain, regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of the Fisherman’s Association / PCFFA and the Institute of Fisheries Resources, is spending the week in Washington, D.C., providing information on the Basin’s complex issues." KBC NOTE: PCFFA sued against Klamath irrigators getting an affordable power rate, against irrigators getting compensation when the federal government withheld their deeded water, against Klamath River miners, sued Calif Water Quality Control Board to force them to regulate Klamath farmers' water quality, PCFFA is often represented by George Soros-funded Earthjustice.
PCFFA Glen Spain ANALYSIS OF “Outline of Objections to the Klamath Basin Restoration and Hydroelectric Settlement Agreements.”  Spain explains why environmental NGO's and Tribes should support the dam removal and ag-downsizing 'agreements', posted to KBC 2/20/10,  12/4/10. 
* "The primary “guarantee” the Project irrigators will get under the KBRA is the guarantee that in dry years they will typically get much less water from the river than before -- and the fish will therefore get that much more.
* “...guaranteed increase” in the volume of water for lower river salmon and endangered lake fish of between 130,000 and 230,000 additional acre-feet which would kick in immediately."
* "...KBRA leaves the ESA alive and well."
* "...short-term and long-term measures including: “conservation easements, forbearance agreements, conjunctive use programs, efficiency measures, land acquisitions, water acquisitions, groundwater development, groundwater substation, other voluntary transactions, water storage, and any other applicable measures.”
* agriculture "..permanently giving up as much as 130,000 acre-feet of current legally held water rights) that the Project and non-Project irrigators are surrendering."

     First a town hall, then a congressional hearing. Klamath Basin residents seeking the ear of Oregon’s senior senator seem to have it.

   “I think this is a big deal. We’re going to be as engaged as we can possibly be,” said Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association.

   Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced at Oregon Institute of Technology Saturday that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would have a hearing on water resource issues in the Klamath River Basin.

   Wyden chairs the committee and therefore sets the agenda. In a news release, the date of June 20 was revealed by Wyden’s committee staff.

   Press Secretary Keith Chu said the hearing is intended “to gather input from everyone with an interest in water management in the Klamath Basin, in a way that shines a light on the Basin and gets the attention of the highest levels of the federal government.

   “(Wyden) is not coming into this with a predetermined outcome in mind. The goal is to find a solution that addresses the contentious issues at stake, with a reasonable price tag that can make its way through Congress at a time when there’s not a lot of extra money floating around.”

   Local voices seek congressional input

   Glen Spain, regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of the Fisherman’s Association and the Institute of Fisheries Resources, is spending the week in Washington, D.C., providing information on the Basin’s complex issues.  

   Spain has yet to be asked to testify before the full committee, though he told the Herald and News he’s interested in doing so.

   Greg Addington said his organization will soon decide whether or not to send a representative to the June 20 hearing, where they’re also hoping to speak.

   “With a declared drought, settlement agreements, and the adjudication, there’s a lot going on,” Addington said. “Our view is that legislation is needed that deals (with the Klamath Basin’s water issues) in a measured and thoughtful way.”

   Referencing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, Addington said possible legislation needs to “be consistent with what a lot of parties have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into.”

   In a recent trip to the Capitol, Addington met briefly with Wyden, in addition to Senate and committee staff.

   Committee press secretary Keith Chu said Wyden is “reaching out to a broad range of folks impacted by water management in the Klamath to testify. But because time allows only a limited number of people to testify at a single hearing, he also has invited anyone in the Klamath River Basin to weigh in at  
Klam  ath@energy.senate.gov.”  The hearing will take place 10 a.m. June 20 and will be webcast on the committee’s website at energy. senate.gov.







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