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Upper and lower basin representatives continued their cooperative efforts Monday in Dorris as Klamath County commissioners met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to discuss agreements on the Klamath River
Upper and lower basin representatives continued their cooperative efforts Monday in Dorris as Klamath County commissioners met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to discuss agreements on the Klamath River.
Commissioners Jim Bellet, Tom Mallams and Dennis Linthicum joined the board to discuss the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement and other related issues.
The trio of agreements are built around the potential removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, various restoration projects and tribal and upper-basin irrigator deals.
Both the commission and the board have expressed their common opposition to the agreements at prior meetings. One major topic at Monday’s meeting was the formulation of a letter to various state and federal representatives encompassing those views.
According to Mallams, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has expressed interest in introducing legislation that would fund and set in motion the various aspects of the KHSA and KBRA this month. In order to provide a voice of opposition, the two boards united with the intent of raising the various concerns each has with the agreements.
For Siskiyou County, the concerns often expressed have to do with the effects of dam removal downriver – sediment release, effects on lake front real estate and flooding – as well as the loss of a renewable energy resource and the potential cost to the area.
In the upper basin, numerous irrigators have signed on to the various agreements, but Mallams said that he believes the concessions made by those irrigators were “blackmail.”
The three commissioners said that the concerns of the upper basin focused on the trading of property rights to tribes in exchange for water assurances, as well as the connecting of the UKBCA to support for the other two agreements.
The letter, which both the commission and board of supervisors approved, has a basic overview of the shared philosophies of the two entities. Those include supporting the establishment of adequate water storage, the retention of clean, renewable hydroelectric power generation and bringing “facts, truth and accountability to bear” in the various processes.
In addition to the basic principles, the meeting also generated various alternatives, points of view and other information to be sent to numerous key policy makers in the coming months.
The board of supervisors is expecting to finalize and approve the letter at a future date.
Page Updated: Thursday May 08, 2014 12:46 AM Pacific
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