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.

From Dan Keppen, Family Farm Alliance, regarding Klamath Water Users Response to Washington Post article, "Leaving No Tracks," about Klamath Water and Vice President Cheney


The Washington Post’s article, focusing on Vice President Cheney and the Klamath Basin, did a disservice to history and the Basin’s residents. On the one hand it claims that Mr. Cheney gave personal attention in early 2001 to Klamath Basin water policy issues. On the other hand, it fails to report that just a few months later this same administration announced there would be no water for irrigators in the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Project – the first time that this water supply had been shut off in the Project’s 100-year history.” 

Klamath Water Users Association

Response to June 27 Washington Post article “Leaving no Tracks”.

Rep. Darlene Hooley, (D-OREGON) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CALIFORNIA) are leading the call for a congressional investigation into Vice President Dick Cheney's alleged involvement in the Klamath Basin water dispute in 2001. A story in The Washington Post June 27 detailed Mr. Cheney's management of the situation as an example of his efforts "to undercut long-standing environmental regulations for the benefit of business." The story reported that he called mid-level Interior officials in an effort to divert the water to farmers at the expense of the salmon run. If you didn't get the chance to read the story in the Post, it was the front page leading story and featured large color photos putting farmers in the "problem" role, next to a picture of many dead bloated fish.

Rep. Hooley and Rep. Mike Thompson, (D-CALIFORNIA) on the same day the Post story ran circulated a letter among their House colleagues asking Rep. Nick Rahall, chairman of the House Resources Committee, to investigate. Thirty-four of their colleagues signed the letter, including all of the Democrats in the Oregon House delegation. The members asked for oversight hearings on Cheney's involvement, and that request has been granted by Chairman Rahall. Republican Representatives Doolittle (CALIFORNIA), Herger (CALIFORNIA) and Walden (OREGON) also support a hearing into this matter, and have requested a field hearing in Yreka (CALIFORNIA), which they believe will provide an opportunity to tell the true story of the positive things that are actually happening on the ground in Klamath.

The coverage on this issue has been amazingly slanted, with very little provided on the actual, substantive and positive efforts that have been undertaken in the past five years. As predicted in the attached response to the Post, we are already seeing the urban papers carry follow-up editorial pieces on this matter, including a real gem in today’s Eugene Register Guard, written by Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild, who concludes, “It is appalling that the vice president used his influence to recklessly overturn science-based decisions and set off the largest fish kill in Northwest history. But it is even more appalling that five years after the fish kill, little has been done to prevent a repeat.”

Well……not so sure that “little has been done” in the Klamath River watershed. In fact, total federal spending under the Bush Administration since 2002 is well over $500 million. To provide a truer sense of what is happening in Klamath, please see the attachments prepared by the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA):

  1. KWUA Response to the Washington Post
  2. Summary of project acreage and Farm Bill spending in Klamath since 2002
  3. Programmatic list of federal budget items over the last several years focusing on ESA/Habitat/Conservation etc. in the Klamath Watershed

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to call KWUA at 541-883-6100.

Dan Keppen

Executive Director

Family Farm Alliance

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2007, All Rights Reserved