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The Great Basin Debate

By Phil Hayworth, Pioneer Press, August 6, 2008  pioneerp@sisqtel.net 

Things are heating up regarding the Klamath Restoration Agreement - that lengthy tome of a document hammered out behind the scenes by a handful of political, Indian, farming and conservation entities over the last two years.

Specifically, a group calling itself the Klamath Basin Alliance, Inc. placed an advertisement in last Sunday's Herald and News daily newspaper. The ad gets right to the point: "Don't be fooled by the proposed $1 billion Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement."

The ad argues that the Klamath Tribes sold their former reservation as "willing sellers" and that they'll get, under the agreement, 92,000 acres of land bought with "taxpayers' money."

"Land for water is nothing less than blackmail," the ad reads. "This agreement was hammered out 'in secret' behind closed doors. This is not just about The Tribes, the land or the water; it's about you and your rights to have a voice in this decision."

The ad, however, doesn't list the groups or people who make up the "Alliance." But the group lists its address at 3255 Washburn Way in Klamath Falls. They're asking that readers fill out a small form and that they agreement should be "shelved."

How much affect the ad will actually have on the process is difficult to tell. But it's obviously an attempt to harness the energies of folks already opposed to the restoration agreement, many of whom include off-project farmers, ranchers and Indian tribes such as the Hoopa who have long been against the agreement.

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