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Locals to attend signing
Water agreement ceremony will be at state Capitol Thursday

by Beaver, Herald and News 1/17/10

     Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement stakeholders and the Klamath County Board of Commissioners will be in Salem Thursday to sign the landmark document that aims to resolve conflicts in the Klamath River watershed.
   Some supporters expected a couple hundred people to attend the event at 10 a.m. in the rotunda of the Oregon Capitol.           
   Along with Gov. Ted Kulongoski and representatives of dozens of stakeholders, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will attend.
   Signing of the restoration agreement will allow stakeholders to approach Congress about legislation and funding, a necessary but difficult step, they say.
   “I don’t think the heavy lifting is over,” said Craig Tucker, Klamath campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe of California.
   A final draft of the agreement was released in early January, and stakeholders and their constituents had until Feb. 9 to say whether they supported or rejected the documents.
   Most stakeholders, from irrigators, local governments and tribes to environmentalists and fishermen, have agreed to support it, including dam owner PacifiCorp.  
   A few others, including two environmental groups, the Hoopa tribe and a group representing irrigators off the Klamath Reclamation Project, oppose it.
   Some groups have yet to make a final decision, taking advantage of a part of the document that gives them up to 60 additional days to decide.
   Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, said he would attend the signing along with 20 to 30 irrigators on the Klamath Reclamation Project.
   “I think it will be the accumulation of a lot of hard work,” he said.
   Rally possible
   Tucker said a number of Karuk tribal leaders and other tribal members are expected to attend. He anticipated a large contingent from the three tribes who approved the agreement to be in Salem and said they may have a rally in support Thursday morning.
   Tom Mallams, president of Klamath Off Project Water Users, one of the groups to reject the document, said he wasn’t planning to attend to protest the signing, nor was he aware of any other plans to do so.
   “Why would we want to go to the irrigated interests’ funeral?” he asked.
   His group is continuing with lawsuits, including one against PacifiCorp, and looks forward to the completion of the state’s water adjudication process in the Basin.  
   Tucker and Addington said they don’t expect opposition to the restoration agreement to let up, but added that it wouldn’t hamper their efforts.
   It’s unclear when the signed document will be taken to federal lawmakers, but Tucker said it would reach them before the current session ends.
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