Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Letter by Klamath Irrigation District Manager Gene Souza regarding FERC's decision to allow destruction of Klamath River hydroelectric dams
My thoughts on FERC’s recent notice are as follows:
The unnaturally and unnecessary high flows in the Klamath River demanded in the National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion cannot be physically maintained while preparation work is setting conditions as demanded on page 91 in the footer of the document published today. Flows will have to be reduced for some of the work to occur. The noted lack of coordination between stakeholders on the timing in these efforts will cause continued problems across the watershed, ecosystems, and economies.
I would ask you to relook the damage currently being created…and examine the superfund site about to be created by this political action.
I am deeply troubled that 11,000 endangered C’waam and Kaptu (sucker fish) behind these dams have been issued a death sentence. There appears to be no worry by any group that these endangered species are being harmed.
There is a complete lack of acknowledgement that the NMFS BiOp is not in line with and unsupported with the spirit of the ESA. Furthermore, the “science” presented by NMFS is widely known to be biased and irrelevant to the threatened coho. I can share a draft literature review with you to clearly provide evidence the excessive water going into the Klamath River is not beneficial to the threatened coho. I would also state that this excessive water release is counter to Oregon Klamath Tribes claims for specific water elevations in Upper Klamath Lake.
FERC has no authority over Reclamation…and that does not seem to matter.
16 U.S. Code § 821 is being ignored. The rule of law has collapsed. State laws and water rights are being affected. "Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as affecting or intending to affect or in any way to interfere with the laws of the respective States relating to the control, appropriation, use, or distribution of water used in irrigation or for municipal or other uses, or any vested right acquired therein."
I have challenged the 2013 agreement Richard Whitman made with the Yurok to undermine the ACFFOD; Klamath Irrigation District won in court which would have negated this unjust agreement which undermined the rule of law…just for our victory to be overturned by my own state for a “lack of joining the federal parties”.
Please pause. Ask the hard questions. And analyze the significant damage about to occur in my homeland.
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