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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Letter to KBC from Michael Kisielewski, DC, blasting KBC and the National Research Council

September 2, 2007,

Dear Editors:

Indeed, there is a crisis concerning the Klamath River Basin—but you fail to capture it with complete factual accuracy.  As a researcher who has investigated the loss of certain fish species in the Klamath River in the context of irrigation and other large-scale industrial agricultural practices that have contributed to such losses, you are wrong to portray this problem as one of “property rights” and government versus local peoples.  To the contrary, the federal and state governments (California, Oregon) have failed to curb the activities of the major culprits behind the crisis (as you define it and as I define it)—large-scale industrial agricultural operations.  

I empathize with the plight of small, local family farmers who have experienced losses due to the curbing of their access to irrigation water.  But you are framing this problem through the wrong lenses.  Moreover, many of the resources that you refer to as factual support of your arguments are, in themselves, biases and inaccurate.  You want to have this issue “both ways:” you target federal government policies that are strangling your ability to survive, yet you also cite sources derived heavily by such FEDERAL agencies as the U.S. Geological Survey or university professors who are working in “extension” programs—effectively, government-sponsored research bases.  Those agencies/individuals historically have had a philosophical/intellectual bias that suggests the stated concerns with the Basin (e.g., fish kills) are not as significant a concern as other independent researchers or research groups have determined.  Moreover, I take personal offense to your apparent equating of “environmental groups” as “radical” or “radical activists.”  What, precisely, do you think you engaging in via the content of you Web site?  Is that not a form of activism as well?  To that end, your facts and your understanding of environmental science are clouded, incomplete, and you seemingly have decided to “select” which elements of scientific evidence you will present to support your position.  The National Research Council’s work needs to be scrutinized in the most delicate of ways.  As one who has interacted closely with the NRC over several years, I can attest to the fact that no NRC report ever truly brings closure to any issue.  The very process of study committee selection is flawed and has been notorious for resulting in committees with unbalanced membership—for example, members who have a vested interest in generating a study whose outcome is favorable to a particular audience—such as large-scale industrial agriculture.

Finally, I take great offense to your invoking religion, spirituality, and “God” into your Web site.  A link to a “Prayer Page” that asserts “Our Country’s Christian ‘Foresaken Roots?’”  That is one of the most inappropriate, obscene elements linked from a Web site that allegedly is devoted to presenting solid, factual evidence to support a political position in search of reclaiming greater water rights about irrigators in the Klamath Basin.  That singlehandedly destroys the credibility of your Web site and your cause.  You are underinformed and ignorant!  And I make this statement as an individual who was raised in the Christian faith.  Nevertheless, invoking God and selectively presenting less-than-credible evidence to pursue your political agenda is reprehensible.  I cringe at the thought of clicking on your link to Global Warming (which, if you are going to “discuss,” you should refer to as GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE).  Presumably—and I just can’t bring myself to visit the Global Warming page for fear of fainting at the content I read—you also dispute the “existence” of such a phenomenon.  Here is hoping that I’m wrong.  But if I am correct, than “May God have mercy on your soul” when subsequent generations of your own family suffer from human-induced climate change leading to a vicious state of environmental conditions—such as widespread drought—as a result of our society’s current failure to mitigate the effects of global climate change.

In closing, I urge you to reconsider the misinformation and disinformation that you are providing publicly.  If you wish to concentrate on reclaiming irrigation rights, then campaign against the major industrial agricultural corporations that are responsible for ruining the health and viability of the Klamath River Basin.

Michael Kisielewski

Independent Consultant, Statistics and Human Rights

Washington, DC

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