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Water accord bill reintroduced to Senate.
Bill has been renamed as SB 133
  By LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 1/10/15 
  H&N file photo

 The public filled the Klamath County Commission chambers during a November meeting to voice comments on the commission’s opposition to the proposed Senate bill water pact.

     The Klamath settlement package was reintroduced to   lawmakers as the first week of the 2015 congressional session got underway.

   On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both   Democrats, reintroduced Senate Bill 2379, the Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act.

   “We’re excited to hear the bill was reintroduced as it was (crafted) last year, with no changes,” said Klamath Tribes   Chairman Don Gentry.

   The package was introduced in the 114th Congress as Senate Bill 133. The O&C Lands Act was also reintroduced.

   According to a news release, the action represents the senators’   commitment to pass common-sense solutions for decades old issues facing rural Oregon by creating new timber jobs, and ending long-running disputes over water supplies.  “The Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act is the embodiment of major collaboration between stakeholders to resolve longstanding water conflicts in the region. Their ability to come together to build a win-win vision for the future should be a model for how to take on complex and controversial water issues,” Merkley said.

   Water stakeholders hoped the SB 2379 could be pushed through for presidential approval attached to a 2104 year-end spending bill.

   The bill is an inclusive piece of federal legislation that attempts to establish reliable water supplies and affordable power rates for irrigators.

   The pact also focuses on providing an economic package for the Klamath Tribes, restoring aquatic and riparian habitat in tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake and removing four Klamath River dams owned by PacifiCorp.

   Gentry said dam removal is still an issue and concern. He expects the bill will experience some opposition in Congress, but he is hopeful lawmakers will move forward and implement the agreements as they are.



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