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‘Agreements’ are attack on Basin’s agricultural economy

by Ken Smith, Klamath Falls, letter to the editor Herald and News 4/4/15

    The Klamath Basin Restoration Act (KBRA): The very name would imply that there is something wrong and something needs to be repaired. What’s wrong? Not enough fish? Poor water quality? Infringed tribal rights?

   Now there is a new, more palatable term being used; “agreements” or “Upper Basin Comprehensive Agreement.” This implies that two parties came together for their mutual benefit.

   I believe that anyone, who has any knowledge of the KBRA, knows this is not the case as certain vested interests, government bureaucrats and tribes have forced other parties (farmers and ranchers   ) to a negotiation table by threatening economic harm and then demanded terms unfavorable to the parties forced to the table.

   A better term for this is “extortion” and a name for the battle over water in the area could be the “Upper Basin Extortion Effort” (UBEE) as it forces the unreasonable sale of a property right (water rights) to be left in stream. If this demand is not met, all water will be taken away from irrigators by the Klamath Tribes.

   Another demand of the UBEE is to relinquish control of private property along tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake through “management easements” permanently attached to property deeds that restrict landowner management of their property. This is a requirement of UBEE.

   Instead of using the term “agreements,” which implies that those (farmers and ranchers) impacted support the actions being forced on agriculture in the area, there is reduced water availability and restricted property rights. Let us call things what they really are — an attack on the agricultural economy in the Klamath Basin, which will impact all of us.

   Ken Smith

   Klamath Falls



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