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.


Letter from Ann SeCoy, Beatty, Oregon to Klamath County Commissioners, Oregon State and Federal Representatives & Senators regarding 140 Upper Klamath ag wells shut off


Dear Klamath County Commissioners, Oregon State and Federal Representatives & Senators,

As one of the property owners who just had one of the 140 agricultural wells shut off, I would like to know what you are all doing to represent our concerns with this biased and completely unfair law being enforced against a small number of productive ranchers.  At the "Open House" with ORWD tonight at the Sprague River Community Center, all I heard repeatedly was:

1) how their hydrology science is fact, but

2) it isn't perfect, so therefore it is their best estimate

3) how the Klamath Tribes have no need to demonstrate the water they are claiming is being put to good use (unlike the similar demands made of the ranchers, who have 5 years to demonstrate productivity with their well water use or their loose their rights)

4) the law is the law, and it doesn't matter that it isn't equally applied, it MUST be enforced.

We are all in a horrific position of what on earth we are going to do with the proper management of our fields, pastures, and livestock.  Do we sell our herd of cows in a bad market?  Do we put them out to graze on what is our hay crop that is just coming up?  Do we have to get rid of our children's 4H sheep breeding program?

All these questions that we would not have to deal with if our well was simply ONE FOOT farther than one mile from the tributary that feeds into the Sprague River.  Drill a new well a little over a mile away was a literal suggestion from the ORWD staff at the meeting tonight.  But no guarantees that the next time the ruling will include all wells within two miles.  So this begs the question of how much science is really involved, or are circular reasoning or a political agenda the main forces employed?

I would sincerely like to hear from you a plan of action as to how you will address this.  What will you do to help these ranchers?  Will we have no property taxes for this year?  Will you pursue a federal disaster course so that our neighbors can at least pay their mortgage and not loose a farm that has been in the family for 5 generations?

Given the delays the Klamath judge has been making in giving a final ruling, and given how it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to fulfill the annual demands from the Klamath Tribes, it is reasonable to assume that these well shut offs will continue to spread in a vain attempt to fulfill the water call.  If you do NOT take a stand now and fight this immoral (but perfectly legal, as I was earnestly assured) upholding of the state law, then the county you represent will become a wasteland.  Agriculture supports a huge number of businesses.

This is a problem that will have enormous unintended consequences if it is not addressed in an aggressive fashion by you, our leaders.  It is completely unrealistic to suppose that each individual well owner that has been affected could afford the hugely expensive petition for judicial review, which costs several hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Why is this judge being allowed to take so long with the adjudication ruling?  Why are you allowing this situation to escalate?

I look forward to an actual, personal reply.  I am not interested in form emails with vague promises or well-wishes, that acknowledge the receipt of my email but go no further.  I want to hear an actual, thoughtful, helpful plan of action from you.  From EACH of you.  You were elected to represent us.  Please do this job well.


Ann SeCoy
36036 Hwy. 140
Beatty, OR  97621


=============== =====================

Hi Ann,

I am sorry Diane and I missed your call.

I was not able to attend the OWRD meeting in Sprague River because I spoke at a Young Americans for Liberty event in San Jose, CA which we had scheduled quite a while ago and then we went further south on family business.

We have seen this before and what worries me is that no matter how many show up with their concerns, complaints, and their lives and livelihoods on the line nothing seems to change the administrative decisions that are driving the OWRD agenda and actions.

We have heard it all before “the tribes are the first in line and when they make a call the OWRD is bound to the water rights laws”. We also know, according to water-law throughout history, that the contingent nature of water poses practical challenges. However, water rights have always been linked to land tenure rights and in particular to land ownership rights. This long-standing historical perspective is changing under our feet. “Time-immemorial” water rights wouldn’t be too frightening if water volume limits were properly determined or adjudicated, but they aren’t.

So, are we a society of laws, rules and governing institutions or not? 

As you describe, the vital importance of water to our county’s farming and ranching activity is such that when the rules get changed “on-the-fly” (i.e., 5,280 feet from the river one day versus 6,000 feet the next) it becomes nearly impossible to live, plan and survive here on the Eastern-side. 

I have met, written, and had innumerable discussions with OWRD and, unfortunately, their claim is they are “simply following the law.” I disagree. They are making up the rules as they go. There is nothing legitimate about the way they move the goalposts after every play. Your points are well-made and your questions highlight the current disingenuous agenda being foisted on agriculture in the basin, by OWRD.

Going forward we need to restrict the use of what I call “rampant model abuse.” Bad science is being used across all federal and state agencies. They fund the research and they construct a model that reflects specific parameters under research, but that leaves some million-other variables out of the equation. This essentially means that the model works well on paper but fails miserably in the real world.

Back in 2000, Congress passed the Information Quality Act (IQA) requiring federal agencies to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific, technical, and statistical information that federal agencies adopt and disseminate to the public. Although the law is nominally a procedural statute, regulated entities and other stakeholders can successfully seek judicial enforcement of the IQA when agencies rely upon flawed science for federal rules, and those rules impose paperwork, compliance, and other burdens.

Unfortunately, Oregon has no such statute or regulatory requirement. This means, we’ll have to create one. This is not an immediate solution; however, I will be submitting the same legislative bill that Sen. Doug Whitsett introduced in 2016. It was defeated but it would force OWRD to use real-world data instead of arbitrary modeling techniques to determine the validity of specific claims against wells that are suspected of impacting surface flows.

Last year, I attended portions of the Sees/Stonier litigation which was challenging this very issue. Their efforts and their case were excellently presented. However, the judiciary squashed their effort.

So, I see your frustration and I’ve heard from everyone in the community. I get calls daily from folks who, like you don’t know how they will survive.

The bureaucratic state has been growing for some time and it will take some time to undo what has been done. In the upcoming elections, we need to change executive, legislative and judicial members wherever possible to turn this ship around.

As your friend and neighbor, I sense your ultimate frustration and I will stay in the fight to secure your land, property and water rights.


Senator Dennis Linthicum
State Senator District 28
900 Court Street S-305
Salem, OR 97301

o: 503-986-1728
c: 541-892-6513

From: Reschke Rep <Rep.EWernerReschke@oregonlegislature.gov>
Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 6:52 AM
To: "ann@delta-s.net" <ann@delta-s.net>
Cc: Representative Greg Walden <Representative.Greg.Walden@mail.house.gov>, Senator Dennis Linthicum <sen.DennisLinthicum@public.govdelivery.com>, Kelley Minty Morris <kmorris@klamathcounty.org>, Derrick DeGroot <ddegroot@klamathcounty.org>, Rep McLane <Rep.MikeMcLane@oregonlegislature.gov>, Donnie Boyd <dboyd@klamathcounty.org>
Subject: Re: Upper Sprague River well shut-off

Hi Ann,

I don’t think we have met before. I wish our first conversation were surrounding much better circumstances.

Note: I have added two people to this thread: 

  • State Representative Mike McLane (who I believe is your State Representative, and whom I have talked about this issue with about this issue recently)
  • Commissioner Donnie Boyd who is very involved with water issues at in the county.

It is my opinion that the State is incorrect by using hydrology modeling that has not been proven accurate in real-world studies. State Representative McLane told me he “… sponsored and advocated for a bill in a previous session that would have negated the presumption that all wells within a mile of a river are hydraulically connected.” I think I am safe to say that all your elected officials on this response disagree with OWRD’s action. 

That said, Oregonians, over the past 30 years, have allowed the administrative state (executive branch) to grab more and more power in such matters. What’s worse is that those who are here to defend you are in the minority in the State House, State Senate and have not held the Governor’s office for over 30 years. What is happening in my opinion is not due to an accident or single a bad actor but is the design of leftism — where the State grows larger and larger and your freedoms are usurped. In this instance they are telling you to lose your livelihood and assets (accumulated often over generations) and to do something else they approve. In my view the world is upside down: fish over farmers. We need a farmer-friendly policy in this State, and in our nation.

On a positive note I believe Congressman Walden will be delivering some good news this afternoon in the form of a press conference in Klamath Falls. Hopefully the Federal relief he talks about will be able to provide help to your particular situation.

In closing, it is wrong for judges and administrative officials to tell you whether you cannot irrigate — especially when their injunctions are based not on real world evidence but opinions and unproven computer models. I along with State Representative McLane, Congressman Walden, State Senator Linthicum, Commissioner Boyd and others will continue to fight for your rights. We have a lot of unwinding to do, and must win power in Salem and DC in order to untangle the mess we’ve allowed grow over decades.

God speed to you and your family. You are in my prayers.



State Representative, District 56
State Capitol: H-377

o: 503-986-1456
c: 541-891-0799


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Saturday May 05, 2018 08:13 PM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2018, All Rights Reserved