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Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement/KBRA
New off-Project group forms
Organizers seek to represent irrigators in water settlement talks
By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 1/10/09
H&N Staff Writer
A new group has formed specifically to represent irrigators in the Wood, Sprague and parts of the Williamson watersheds in Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement talks.
   Off-Project irrigators Becky Hyde, Karl Scronce and Bob Sanders are heading the Upper Klamath Basin Water Users Association to ensure those off-Project irrigators’ issues are resolved by the proposed water settlement.
   The proposed restoration agreement, developed over 2-1/2 years by representatives of tribal, agricultural, fisheries and environmental interests, would dictate how water, power and environmental issues would be settled in the Basin.
   Some settlement groups welcomed the new organization but others, including an off-Project organization already at the table, say it doesn’t represent a large enough group to be included in talks and call its approach to the agreement “suicide.”
   “They think they can change it from the inside,” said Tom Mallams of the Klamath Off Project Water Users. “They’re putting a lot of faith in people.”
   The Upper Klamath group is still in the formation process. Its three founders have hosted four meetings and are still drawing up bylaws.
Group’s goals
   Hyde said the group’s primary goals include facilitating settlement of water adjudication claims between off-Project irrigators, the Klamath Tribes and Project irrigators, working with the Klamath Water and Power Agency to address power needs and providing irrigators the best protections available from the Endangered Species Act.
   The goals aren’t much different from those of the already active Klamath Off Project Water Users, but Hyde said her group is more willing to work within the current format of the restoration agreement. She and others also see more risk in challenging the Tribes’ water claims than settling them out of court.
   “It’s pretty common knowledge that there’s differing views on how we bring stability,” she said.
   New views
   Mallams said he doesn’t object to another viewpoint on the restoration agreement. But, he said, the new group is taking a gamble by being willing to sign on to a document that isn’t fully written and leaves a lot of exposure for a future water cutoff.
   The off-Project irrigator also criticized any bid to include Hyde’s organization in settlement talks because it does not represent a sizable number of off-Project irrigators. As an example, he said another off-Project group, the Resource Conservancy, was denied access to settlement talks despite representing a large number of off-Project irrigators with water adjudication claims.
   Opening the doors
   Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, said after the agreement was released to the public, its stakeholders planned to open the doors to groups willing to move forward. The settlement group is looking for “productive” new members who are willing to work within the current document, he said.
X   “It’s not fair to have everyone rehash everything for just one group,” Addington said. “It’s like letting the defense into the huddle.”
   Common ground
   Jeff Mitchell, Klamath tribal council member, said he didn’t know whether Hyde’s organization would be included in settlement talks, but applauded her efforts to find common ground between off-Project irrigators and the Tribes.
   A call by the Herald and News to Roger Nicholson of the Resource Conservancy was not returned.
A KBC editor responds

First of all, the Off-Project Resource Conservancy encompasses 50,000 acres of Off-Project land represented by their president Roger Nicholson. He was not allowed at the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement table as a stakeholder. 26 groups of agencies, Indians, and more than a dozen environmental groups owning no land, and 1 irrigation rep, the Klamath Project, are at the table, but the Resource Conservancy was not admitted.

Recently Becky Hatfield Hyde is trying to create a new group, claiming to speak for the Off-Project folks and supporting the agreement. She was welcomed to attend the closed-door settlement meeting in Sacramento with other chosen 'stakeholders' as a Sustainable NW rep, and last week was welcomed in Portland as the Off-Project rep. So far her group represents few.

There is already a group, the Klamath Off-Project Water Users, consisting of several hundred Off-Project irrigators led by Tom Mallams, at the table. Mallams told KBC he was not even told about last week's PacifiCorp meeting, and the PacifiCorp facilitator will only admit those agreeing with removal of 4 dams and the entire KBRA. The agreement supports giving the Mazama Tree Farm, 92,000 acres of forest land, to the Klamath Tribes again. This is land the tribes voted to sell when they voted for termination.

Mallam's group was formed to deal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's relicensing power issues, so was already at the table dealing specifically with power issues when the KBRA formed. It was not formed to address tribal expansion or land issues. That's why the  Off-Project irrigators wanted the Resource Conservancy to be at the table, which the full-settlement group opposed.

The Klamath Tribe owns the easement to the Yainix Ranch of Becky
and Taylor Hyde. p408.

Becky Hyde works with tribes and Sustainable NW, "Within two months of public offering, the LLC already has $40,000 in investments with several additional investors interested....Besides the Hydes and Sustainable Northwest, this partnership includes the Klamath Tribe, federal and state government agency employees, environmental groups, and interested ranchers."

Yainix Ranch-Model Conservation Easement grant was $225,000 (http://www.oregon.gov/OWEB/GRANTS/docs/board

SIDENOTE: From 2001-2005, Sam Walton donated $ 474,600 to Sustainable NW.Sam Walton has donated $50,000 more to Sustainable NW in 2006. http://www.mediatransparency.org/recipientfundergrants.php?funderID=25&recipientID=5  http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/aboutus/2006grants.asp  Coincidently, Sam Walton is on the confidential contact list for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Walton is on the board of trustees of the Environmental Defense Fund: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=365 as President, Restoration Works LLC. Environmental Defense is partners with Earth Justice http://www.edf.org/documents/5752_2006AnnualReport.pdf. Whenever there are lawsuits against Klamath Basin irrigators, Earth Justice is usually litigating against the farmers and ranchers. 

The settlement "agreement" ends the water adjudication process and downsizes the Off-Project lands by 30,000 acre-feet of water, with no definite cap on that quantity. It also gives senior water rights to the Klamath Tribes. 300 Off-Project residents signed petitions against this agreement, whose representatives are Tom Mallams, Roger Nicholson and Garrett Roseberry.

Why is it that Becky Hyde, who is in partnership with the Tribes, Sustainable NW, and gov't agencies that happen to be at the table, is welcomed at the table to represent a few Off-Project irrigators, but Resource Conservancy and the other Off-Project irrigators who need some assurances from the agreement, are not allowed to represent their constituency?

Also, current petitions against the agreement by Karuk tribal members, on and Off-Project residents, and Siskiyou County have reached more than 1800. Those are in addition to 2500 past petitions opposing taxpayers giving any forest back to the Klamath Tribes who sold it, a mandate in the "agreement." According to tribal member Jeff Mitchell, when the tribes put the reacquired forest into trust, then this sovereign nation can have more control of neighboring land, especially the entire Winema-Freemont National Forest, which concerns their Off-Project neighbors.

In the past several years, nearly 100,000 acres of  Off-Project ag land has been acquired by the Nature Conservancy and gov't agencies in the guise of water storage. There are around 50,000 acres left of surface irrigable land. The agreement demands 30,000 acre feet of water of what's left. Here is Klamath Tribe document of intensions.

Since Hyde's property is in an easement with the Tribes and Sustainable NW, she already sold out having total control of her land. And her partners, the environmental groups, agencies and tribes at the settlement table, are eager for her help to sell out the remainder of Off-Project irrigators. So the real representatives are not allowed to negotiate at the KBRA table because they don't agree with the direction of her partners who want more massive acquisition of the remainder of their water.

Klamath Water Users Association and Klamath Tribes refuse to allow the legitimate Off-Project groups to negotiate some benefits for those who don't want to sell out and sign the KBRA. As Addington states they must be willing to be "productive," or "willing to move forward" with their document, which will further decimate Off-Project agriculture.

Read paragraph X on the left-hand page.
Then read it again.
Addington states, “It’s not fair to have everyone rehash everything for just one group,” Addington said. “It’s like letting the defense into the huddle.”
The defense=the enemy

"just one group" of peon farmers and ranchers who don't want to lose:
* 30,000 acre feet of water and be the "sacrificial lamb",
* surrounding and neighboring land to the Sovereign Klamath Tribes,
* control of groundwater regulations,
* 4 Klamath River hydro dams that supplying 70,000 customers, and an economy for their Siskiyou County neighbors,
* government of and by the people, to be ruled by this group of closed-door negotiators who don't give a damn about their constituency or this "just one group"


Additional reading:
Letter by Becky Hyde who blasts: Klamath Basin Alliance, Cherokee descendant and author Elaine Willman who was former National Chairman of Citizens for Equal Rights, and tribal member and tribal law expert Philip Brendale who is coming to town next week. He was getting screwed by his tribe, took the case to the Supreme Court and won. Response by a KBC editor, May 20, 2008.  

HERE for Off-Project protest VIDEO

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