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Agreement would harm agriculture, (Klamath) basin

by Brandon Criss, guest writer for Herald and News 1/17/10. Brandon Criss is a Butte Valley farmer and rancher. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Norwich University in Northfield, Vt.

In their own words directly from the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, it’s admitted by all parties signing the agreement that Oregon’s Klamath River Basin and Agriculture shall be harmed financially.

The KBRA makes abundantly clear in “Appendix B-3 Proposed Oregon Legislation for 2011 Legislation Session” page B-4 that states that “The use of lottery bond proceeds is authorized based on the following findings: That water right retirements and reduced water delivery in the Klamath River Basin in Oregon through the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement will negatively affect land values and the agricultural land base in Oregon’s Klamath River Basin and that the use of the lottery bond proceeds will further economic development by mitigating the negative impact of such water right retirements and reduced water delivery on the economy of the region.”

According to the KBRA (pg. B5) the lottery funding will be for “Providing funds to Klamath County to compensate for loss of tax revenue as a result of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.”

Under Appendix B-3 (pg. B4-B5), the KBRA states that the collection of taxpayer dollars and lottery funds will be used for “Providing grants for projects to foster and incentivize development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation projects targeted at serving agricultural users in Klamath County to support agricultural development and economic vitality.”

The government handout of lottery funds insults our forefather farmers who paid for the Klamath Reclamation Project.

Not implying that the Herald and News editorial board favors or disfavors the KBRA, but it made a great point in its Jan. 7 editorial titled “Oregon should quit using problem gamblers to fill its budget needs.” “The question Oregonians and their legislators need to answer is whether encouraging problem gambling is the proper role for state government.”

Answers aren’t there

If you read the KBRA, you will see that it does not provide the answers to ensuring farmers water. What it does do instead is once the federal, state and local governments approve this, they delegate control over Klamath Basin water to the unelected “Klamath Basin Coordinating Council”.

Unfortunately for farmers and local government, the “Council” has a super majority membership composed of environmentalists and tribes who all advocated the 2001 water shut-off along with unelected bureaucrats who appeal to an environmentalist agenda.

Below tells you which sections from the KBRA this “Council” can use to harm family farmers.

Section 19.2.3 part A “The lead entity shall develop a draft drought plan by Sept. 30, 2010.” This will occur eight months after the 30-day public comment period for all of us not privy to the “confidential” negotiations to review and comment on the agreement.

Then read section 19.4.5. “The parties agree to reconvene and to negotiate in good faith to develop supplemental terms of this agreement consistent with the goals of sustainable communities in light of climatic change when either or both of the following criteria are satisfied:

“A. Substantial effects of climate change are determined by the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council to be manifest or reasonably likely to occur; or B. Adaptive management of water resources consistent with the obligations of this agreement is deemed by the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council to be insufficient to address the impacts of climatic change.”

The KBRA makes clear that if climate change is “reasonably likely to occur” (which environmentalists already claim) then water allocations can be cut even more to family farmers by the unelected “Klamath Basin Coordinating Council.”

If our elected officials pass this agreement, they shall be signing a blank check and handing it over to people we don’t trust to cash it in.

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              Page Updated: Tuesday January 19, 2010 02:59 AM  Pacific

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