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Dear Klamath Farmers,
 from Jim Beers, 8/30/04
I try to read everything I can about Klamath activities and I see it as a complex problem that some neophyte like me should be careful about commenting about.  However this news release about Rep. Blumenauer really caught my eye.  I am unfamiliar with his past involvement in this issue and he may have some good ideas but this report fails to illuminate the reader on that aspect of his visit.  Three things he was credited with in the article really deserve an answer, in my view.
"Ending agriculture on the refuges could bring more money into the Basin by bringing in more birds and, thus, more bird watchers."??   Answer:  Practically every refuge I know that has a large concentration of birds has LOTS of agriculture on and/or near the refuge.  Ending agriculture does not produce any more appreciable amount of birds at that place for birdwatchers and it certainly feeds LESS migratory and/or wintering birds.  Further, increasing concentrations of birds is a phenomenon that should be investigated carefully for reasons of HUMAN HEALTH, BIRD HEALTH, SOIL QUALITY, SURFACE WATER QUALITY, AND UNDERGROUND WATER QUALITY.  Look at the EPA regs for duck feedlots and the research behind it and you will see that domestic duck feces has streptococcus, staphylococcus, nitrates, orthophosphorus, volatile solids and other contaminants in abundant concentrations that has caused the Federal government to claim jurisdiction over every such flock OVER 5,000 birds and to require double lagoons, aerators, and stiff fines for any runoff even during storms.  NO such research has been conducted on wild birds and Federal and State managers refuse to even address the issue.  Finally, the assertion that "bringing in more birds" brings in "more bird watchers" is patently false.  This bit of faux-folk wisdom is used everywhere to justify closing timber mills, shutting down ranches, decimating big game herds, destroying public land access roads and every sort of Federal harm to the environment and our human society.  Whenever anyone comes around, especially some Federal politician murmuring about chunks of Federal money, spouting this stuff you should look him in they eye and tell him to prove it.  It is always an economic absurdity and a failure of justice and common sense to say that a vanload of yuppies in the fall replaces farms, families, schools, and communities that were destroyed for their enjoyment. 
"We are going to have to find a big chunk of federal money to get a solution."  Answer: If the only answer to every issue like Klamath is "a big chunk of federal money" we are all doomed because Federal bureaucrats, Federal politicians,  and the environmental organizations that keep stirring these pots like Klamath will see that the strings with the money will tie you up and take away any and all rights you have today.
"If Blumenauer tries to bring legislation again, lawyers will probably get involved."  Answer: I am glad they told us.  Anyone who can tie their own tie knows this and know what it will produce.
Good Luck.
Jim Beer
This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at



Representative opposed to lease-land farming


Published August 29, 2004

Rep. Earl Blumenauer speaks on local issues during unofficial visit


U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer made an unofficial visit to the Klamath Basin last week.

The lawmaker from Portland was in Klamath Falls late last week, meeting with environmentalists, duck hunters, Native Americans, irrigators, fishing interests and others, he told the Herald and News in an interview Friday.

No official schedule of his visit was available, no public events were held and Blumenauer did not go into detail of with whom he met.

He said he goes on trips outside of his district and around Oregon every month to get a feel of what different cities and towns are going dealing with first hand.

"Communities large and small are dealing with the same issues," he said.

During the visits he goes on jogs every morning to get a look at the area, he said. Keeping the meetings causal keeps the conversations candid.

Most those he had met with had a similar message, he said.

"There seems to be a recognition that a solution is going to have to be Basin wide," he said.

Getting to that solution will require groups that are at odds working together and getting federal support.

"We are going to have to find a big chunk of federal money to get a solution," he said.

He said his first trip to Klamath Falls was in 1969 and he has seen the community change since.

And, changes again are on the horizon.

"This is going to be an area of tremendous change in the next two years," he said.

With the hydroelectrical dams on the Klamath River up for relicensing, power rates for water users possibly going up, and the Klamath Tribes trying to get a reservation again, the complexion of the Basin could change in the several years, he said.

A change Blumenauer has tried to bring to the Basin is the end of agriculture on lease lands on national wildlife refuges.

Last year he tried to add an amendment to a spending bill for the Department of Interior that would have stopped agriculture on the refuges, but it was voted down by the U.S. House.

He tried to pass similar amendment the year before, but it also failed.

Ending agriculture on the refuges could bring more money into the Basin by bringing in more birds and, thus, more bird watchers, he said.

Although some birds do fed on the crops grown on lease lands.

"The wetlands were here for millennia and they fed far more birds," he said.

Sam Henzel, manager of the Klamath Drainage District, disagrees with Blumenauer.

He said if the lease lands on the district were converted to wetlands, they would have to get a new water right and lose their current source for water and drainage.

"Therefore they would get no water," he said.

"We are going to have to find a big chunk of federal money to get a solution," "There would be an intense legal issue," Henzel said.

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