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.

Coalition for Idaho Water, IWUA Members and Friends:

We need your help to protect Idaho’s water!

Please take a moment now to send Senator Larry Craig a message at www.craig.senate.gov/webform.cfm  or call his office nearest you at 342-7985 (Boise), 523-5541 (Idaho Falls), 734-6780 (Twin Falls), 236-6817 (Pocatello), 743-0792 (Lewiston), 667-6130 (Coeur d’Alene), or (202) 224-2752 (Washington, D.C.). Please let them know that you SUPPORT SENATOR CRAIG’S EFFORT TO PROTECT IDAHO WATER from the environmentalists’ water grab in federal court. 

As you can see from the article below, Senator Craig is crafting legislation to stop Idaho Rivers United and American Rivers from stealing our State’s water in federal court.  If successful, these groups threaten to dry up millions of acres of irrigated farm land, subdivisions, parks, school yards, resident fisheries, hydropower, aquaculture, recharge, recreation and every other water use that relies directly or indirectly on the use of reservoir storage water during the dry summer months in Idaho.  Idaho and its people have already made major commitments in the name of the salmon; stealing our water is the last straw!  This is not about the salmon. It is about protecting Idaho water.

These groups are engaged in a reckless, mean-spirited attempt to divide our State and its people; attempting to drive a wedge between us on the issues of dam removal and flow augmentation. Their agenda is not Idaho’s. And the results could be disastrous if they win. That is why we need to let Senator Craig know that we support his efforts for a legislative fix. This is serious business. Please take a minute to contact Senator Craig right now.

Thank you for your assistance.

Norman M. Semanko
Coalition for Idaho Water, Inc.
Idaho Water Users Association, Inc.
1010 W. Jefferson St., Suite 101
Boise, ID  83702
Telephone:  208-344-6690
Fax:  208-344-2744
Web Page:  www.iwua.org

P.S.  Idaho Rivers United and their friends have started an email and letter-writing campaign of their own to spread misinformation about what Senator Craig is trying to do, going so far as to call it “dishonest”. It is critical that he hears from you as soon as possible! Please call or email Senator Craig TODAY!


Nov 17, 5:06 PM EST

Idaho Sen. Craig drafting budget rider to overturn salmon ruling

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is drafting a legislative rider to a federal spending bill to uphold management plans for dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers that were rejected by a federal judge because they failed to prevent salmon extinction.

"Sen. Craig would certainly entertain an option for Congress to say the biological opinions the scientists spent years working on are adequate under the Endangered Species Act," Craig's press secretary, Dan Whiting, told The Associated Press.

Craig and the rest of Idaho's all-Republican congressional delegation have criticized rulings by U.S. District Judge James Redden of Oregon in lawsuits brought by environmental groups that contend the federal government is not doing enough to promote the survival of endangered salmon.

In May, Redden ordered the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries to consider the effects of irrigation projects above Hells Canyon on the upper Snake River in Idaho with the operation of hydroelectric dams downstream in Oregon and Washington on salmon migration.

Craig has said Redden's ruling threatens a landmark water rights agreement signed by President Bush in 2004. The Snake River Basin water rights agreement allows the state, federal government and Nez Perce Tribe to exchange land and money in return for the tribe's relinquishment of claims to nearly all the water in the Snake River Basin.

Whiting said Craig hopes to attach a provision to one of the overdue federal appropriations bills still pending in the lame-duck Congress, which has recessed for the Thanksgiving break.

"Legislative language has always been an option for Sen. Craig, but at this point, we hardly know how things are going to play out in the rest of the session," Whiting said Thursday.

Craig serves on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that holds purse strings to federal energy and water development programs. Last year, he included a provision in a federal spending bill that effectively eliminated the budget of the Fish Passage Center in Portland, Ore., which counted salmon and other fish in the Columbia River system and provided the data used in Redden's rulings.

Idaho agricultural water groups say they fear Redden's ruling to include the upper Snake as part of the Columbia Basin biological analysis means federal reservoirs in Idaho will be operated as part of the downstream plan for salmon recovery. More Idaho water may have to be spilled downstream for salmon migration, rather than for irrigating 2 million acres of farmland in southern Idaho.

"This unrelenting attack on Idaho's water directly jeopardizes water supplies for our cities, recreation, aquaculture, resident fish and other uses in Idaho," Norm Semanko of the Coalition for Idaho Water said in a statement.

Bill Sedivy of Idaho Rivers United said based on conversations with U.S. Senate staffers and environmental lobbyists, they expect Craig's rider to prohibit the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from spending money on a new biological opinion altering the 2004 Snake River Basin water rights agreement.

"Sen. Craig will tell you that this rider is about protecting Idaho water and the Nez Perce agreement," Sedivy said Friday. "We believe this rider is about Larry Craig's failure - and his lack of desire - to find real solutions to Idaho's salmon crisis."

A coalition of 23 pro-salmon groups this week sent letters to U.S. senators warning of Craig's intent to attach a Redden-reversal rider to must-pass spending bills.

"Any 11th-hour rider that would exempt Idaho from helping to recover Pacific Northwest salmon would unfairly shift Idaho's salmon recovery responsibilities onto California, Oregon and Washington; delay real solutions to our nation's salmon crisis; misuse the legislative process; and undermine the 'checks and balances' duty of federal courts," reads the letter signed by groups such as American Rivers, the Sierra Club and the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.

Michael Garrity, Columbia Basin program manager for American Rivers in Seattle, said if Craig does pursue a salmon rider, "it is going to run into a whole lot of opposition because it's an attack on the Endangered Species Act, as well as reducing the options when it comes to salmon recovery."

Home Contact


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

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2006, All Rights Reserved