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Governor discusses Klamath in D.C.
Meets with Obama adviser about water agreement
Gov. Ted Kulongoski met with President Barack Obama’s chief environmental policy adviser Thursday to discuss the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
Jillian Schoene, Kulongoski’s spokeswoman, said the meeting allowed the governor to voice his support for the restoration agreement and touch base with Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“She gave the governor every confidence that she’s willing to work with the states on the next step,” Schoene said.
The 369-page water agreement is supposed to resolve disputes over water in the Klamath River watershed. It would cost an estimated $1 billion over 10 years to implement. Of that, about $400 million would be new spending.
The agreement promotes the removal of four Klamath River hydroelectric dams to re-establish fish passage.
It also aims to provide reliable water and affordable power for irrigators and help the Klamath Tribes acquire a privately owned 90,000-acre property known as the Mazama Tree Farm.
The agreement — after a public review period that ends Feb. 9 — will be presented to federal lawmakers for legislation and funding.
Kulongoski was in Washington, D.C., for a number of meetings with federal officials, including sessions with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Oregon’s delegates to Congress about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Working on document
Sutley is expected to work with U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and other senior White House officials on the restoration agreement as it goes to Congress.
Schoene said Kulongoski’s meeting with Sutley went well, and the governor is excited about the progress of the agreement.
Klamath County Commissioner John Elliott said Kulongoski has actively followed water settlement discussions and meetings, and it made sense for him to be back in Washington talking to federal officials.
“There’s still a lot of process to go through,” Elliott said.
Page Updated: Monday January 25, 2010 12:23 AM Pacific
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