resume Feb. 12 in Medford
the reopening of the federal government, water talks among
the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” are scheduled to
resume on Feb. 12 and 13 in Medford at the Bureau of Land
coalition, facilitated by Alan Mikkelsen, senior advisor to
the Secretary of the Interior on water and western
resources, is made up of upwards of 65 individuals who are
in ongoing discussions on water solutions.
“Obviously it’s set everything back a month,” Mikkelsen told
the Herald and News of the partial shutdown. “We were
supposed to be there in January and now we’re into February
before we’ll be there. We’re going to have to try to catch
up and do the best we can.”
Mikkelsen said although he and a staff member weren’t
furloughed during theshutdown, which lasted a record 35
days, there wasn’t much he could do without other agencies.
said the agenda of the upcoming meeting will be focused on
what he calls education efforts among the parties
participating on the board. Mikkelsen said the coalition
includes a “significant” number of individuals from the
Klamath Basin, ranging from civic organizations to
agricultural, fishing and tribal interests.
also going to be looking at some historical issues and
evidence and what the Basin may have looked like 70 or 75
years ago,” Mikkelsen said. “A number of the parties have
assignments to do that.”
Mikkelsen confirmed that the Klamath Tribes have not been
invited to the coalition meeting, but added they are welcome
are certainly welcome to participate in the same light that
everybody else is participating,” Mikkelsen said. “They’ll
have to indicate a willingness to do so.”
There’s been ongoing friction between Mikkelsen and the
Klamath Tribes about the talks, with neither side willing to
move from their key issues.
the first coalition meeting in mid-December, three
individuals who are employed by the Klamath Tribes attended
the meeting to take notes, but were told they could not take
part in discussions.
we have an indication and formal communication from the
Klamath Tribes that they are willing to participate in the
Coalition of the Willing, to find solutions to all of the
Basin-wide problems, they will have to be in an observer
role,” Mikkelsen said.
“Nobody has asked anybody to basically compromise any
position in this coalition of the willing, but you have to
be able and willing to sit at the table and discuss all
positions of all the parties without precondition,”
Mikkelsen said the upcoming meeting will lay ground work for
reaching a concensus on issues at hand.
have an imbalance in the Basin of needs and resources,”
Mikkelsen said. “The only guarantee that we have in this
entire situation is that the future is not, will not, cannot
look like the past.”
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