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Supervisor says science matters to debate

by Ty Beaver, Herald and News 11/20/09

   H&N Staff Writer

   Jim Cook worked for the Klamath County Economic Development Association when federal agents shut off water to the Klamath Reclamation Project in 2001.

 The current Siskiyou County supervisor attended Bucket Brigade events in Klamath Falls as residents sought to draw attention to the water crisis.  

A wildlife biologist by training, Cook says he remembers questioning the science behind the water shutoff, which was meant to save fish.

“It wasn’t ringing true,” he said.

That feeling continued into his work on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and a related Klamath River dam removal agreement. He said science is still ignored regarding the river’s issues, from the fish die-off in 2002 to the push to remove the dams.

 “No one’s talking about biology anymore,” Cook said.

The county supervisor says that lack of regard for scientific evidence is being carried into water issues elsewhere.

   He recently spent time in Monterey, Calif., meeting with county supervisors whose communities are impacted by a water shutoff in California’s Central Valley Project.

   Cook said actions of environmentalists would decimate the economy in the Central Valley Project, just as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement could do in Siskiyou County if it is implemented and the dams are removed.       

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