Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Measure G opponents host town hall
by Jamie Gentner, Siskiyou Daily News October 12, 2010
Yreka, Calif. — “Ice cream. You scream. No on Measure G.”
That’s what a sign hanging behind three men scooping ice cream at the Lake Shastina Community Center on Thursday night encouraged attendees of a town hall aimed at pushing a “no” vote on Measure G.
The advisory question that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot will ask voters: “Should the Klamath River dams (Iron Gate, Copco 1, and Copco 2) and associated hydroelectric facilities be removed?” as part of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which lays out a plan for the potential removal of the three dams in California as well as the JC Boyle Dam in Oregon.
At the ice cream social Thursday, about 25 county residents enjoyed a few scoops of ice cream and then heard from three speakers, who encouraged a “no” vote.
First up was Frank Tallerico of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, the group who sponsored the meeting.
He began by telling those in attendance that he believes the measure has somehow become all about jobs.
“I thought this started with fish and water quality,” he said. “How did it get here?”
The recently-launched Yes on G website at www.yesonquestiong.com states:
“The Klamath settlement is fashioned to retain agricultural jobs, create restoration jobs, and save ratepayers money. These agreements bring millions of dollars for job creation in Siskiyou County – jobs in construction, river restoration, and renewable energy.”
It also claims that dam removal “is cheaper than relicensing.”
Tallerico told those at the town hall that the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) was conceived in secret without public hearings and that a few individuals and organization will benefit from its passage.
“This isn’t about jobs,” he said. “It’s about greed and corruption.”
Tallerico also made available a document that outlines what he called “several lies” proponents are airing concerning electricity bills, a better economy, fish, clean water and flood control.
The SCWUA believes there are alternatives to dam removal – many conceived by members of the Shasta Nation – that are viable options put forward by knowledgeable people, Tallerico said.
Tom Wetter spoke next, outlining the process that brought about the KBRA, SCWUA and the issues that have arisen.
He spoke to the agreement, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) restrictions and the California Department of Fish and Game’s Incidental Take Permit.
He said he believes that the federal organizations involved are looking to remove dams in order to settle claims with the local tribes, create a natural fishery and convert the tributaries into hatcheries. He also touched on economic and monetary impacts, and he agreed that the jobs that would be created are only temporary labor jobs.
“All I really want to say is that this is our only opportunity to raise our voice. The feds have made it clear they don’t want to hear our input,” he concluded. “But now is our opportunity to support the supervisors’ decision. ... It’s our chance to speak out for our survival. We really need to stand together on this.”
Louise Gliatto followed Wetter and spoke of the need for monetary support in addition to the “no” vote.
“This isn’t happening to someone else. It’s happening to us,” she said. “We are tired of people pushing us around. But we are up against a formidable opponent with deep pockets.”
Supervisor Michael Kobseff attended the meeting and also offered his support.
“A vote like this can send a message to Washington,” he said. “I’d like to see the numbers against this be large because it will send an overwhelming message to the East Coast.
This has the potential to have an effect, long term, on what Washington will do.”
For more information about the SCWUA, visit 347 Main St. in Yreka.
Page Updated: Wednesday October 13, 2010 01:04 AM Pacific
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