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Senator encourages water stakeholders

By MEGAN DOYLE Herald and News July 2, 2008

< Sen. Gordon Smith said in a Tuesday visit to Klamath Falls that he supports local efforts on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, but wants to let stakeholders complete it before weighing in.

“I support their collaborative efforts,” he said, adding that he has been briefed periodically on the project, which allocates water among irrigators, fishermen, tribes and other stakeholders in the Klamath Basin watershed.

“I’m here only to give encouragement,” he said.

Smith visited Elmer’s restaurant Tuesday afternoon during a campaign trip through Oregon. He met for lunch with local officials, including Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger, Klamath County commissioners and other community members.

Joe Spendolini, chairman of the Klamath County Republican Party, said he intends to get the group’s Central Committee to support Smith’s reelection.

“I think he demonstrates a fluent understanding of the issues here,” agreed Dan Golden. Smith especially supports agriculture and is aware of the possible impacts of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, he said. Representatives from more than two dozen organizations have met for more than two years to reach consensus on the agreement. It would remove dams from the Klamath River to provide fish harvest opportunities, reliable water and power supplies for sustainable agriculture, communities and national wildlife refuges.

Smith said he wouldn’t give his opinion on the agreement until a final draft is submitted to his office.
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