Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Bill must pass House committees
by sara Hottman, Herald and News 11/20/11
Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., admitted legislation implementing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement faces an uphill road in the intensely partisan Congress.
Sponsors of the bill were only able to recruit fellow Democrats as cosponsors — one senator and 15 representatives — and two Republican representatives, Wally Herger, R-Calif., and Greg Walden, ROre., who represent the Klamath Basin haven’t signed on.
But the greatest known hurdle for legislation will be in House committees.
While the Senate bill went to the Democrat dominated Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the House bill was referred to two Republican-dominated committees — Natural Resources, and Energy and Commerce.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is chairman of a Natural Resources subcommittee, Water and Power, which will play a key role in advancing or killing legislation.
Stopping dam removal
While McClintock has said he’s apathetic to the settlement agreement among stakeholders in Klamath Reclamation Project water, he’s staunchly opposed to dam removal and has vowed to do everything he can to stop it.
“…To tear down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams at enormous cost is insane,” McClintock said in September.
Dam removal is critical to the agreements.
“Partners in the restoration agreements have had a lot of contact with McClintock and his staff for at least the past three years,” said Belinda Scalas, coordinator with PROSPER , which supports the agreements.
“We’ve tried to help him understand this incident of dam removal … is not precedent-setting. It’s a special circumstance.”
Al King, spokesperson for Citizens Protecting Rural Oregon, opposed to the agreements, said his group has also been in contact with McClintock.
“We have been working with McClintock,” King said. “We’ve met with his staff, we’ve forwarded document, we’ve demonstrated our positions.”
Page Updated: Monday November 21, 2011 02:29 AM Pacific
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