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County counsel alleges federal involvement in KBRA group
Yreka, Calif. — The county has a new set of allegations against federal agencies in the Klamath agreement process, according to a letter sent Oct. 15 from the office of the Thomas Guarino, Siskiyou County Counsel.
The letter addresses the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council (KBCC), a group formed under the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) to monitor and report on progress and obstacles in implementing the measures under the agreement.
Guarino states in the letter that the county is under the impression that a number of federal agencies – including the United States Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, among other departments – have been involved in the meetings.
“It has recently come to the attention of the County that several federal agencies may in fact be participating in and voting as part of the [KBCC]. It is the County’s further understanding that apparently the Department of the Interior is providing funding for the Coordinating Council activities in the form of providing payment for the services of Mr. Sheets and possibly funding other activities,” Guarino alleges.
Consultant Ed Sheets currently provides a website that contains the KBRA and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), along with the KBCC agendas.
Guarino states that the county requests an end to the alleged activities of the federal entities, “unless justification can be provided for the legal participation of these departments and agencies.”
According to the KBRA and KHSA, before authorizing legislation is enacted, federal agencies can not be a party to either agreement. The two agreements do contain language, however, that allows certain entities to engage in settlement and restoration activities already under their existing authorities.
The letter also requests that John Bezdek, Solicitor for Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, provide an explanation as to how the federal agencies can participate in activities under the KBRA before a decision of whether or not to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath is made under the KHSA.
In closing, Guarino asks for a documentation of the dollar amounts of funding authorized for the KBCC from federal sources, the dollar amounts spent by agencies on KBRA activities since the document was signed in February, and a copy of the agreements with Sheets for his work.
Guarino adds that the county invites Bezdek to come before the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to present his answers to the allegations and requests.
Page Updated: Wednesday October 20, 2010 01:35 AM Pacific
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