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Letter written to federal officials
Rancher, settlement opponent Tom Mallams recounts confrontations
by Sara Hottman, Herald and News 11/4/11
Last month, Tom Mallams, an Upper Klamath rancher and a vocal and persistent opponent to water-related settlement agreements, sent a 1 letter to federal officials recounting a confrontation at an informational meeting in Chiloquin last month about an affordable power program established in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
Mallams and Mike King, also a rancher, have made a point to attend most public meetings related to the agreements, and say supporters have tried to intimidate and ignore them.
“They don’t like to see us coming because we hold them to the fire,” Mallams said. “We wait our turn, we raise our hands. We ask the questions people wanted to ask but are too afraid to ask.”
Excerpts from the letter
Here are excerpts from Mallams’ letter (in italics) and responses from the people named in it:
“I am writing this letter to inform you of a very disturbing public meeting I attended … As I approached the inner door to the Chiloquin Community Center, where the meeting was scheduled to take place, a very loud, obnoxious and rude (Upper Klamath Water Users Association) Board member, Cheri Little, blocked the door so I was unable to enter. She exclaimed that ‘we needed to go outside and settle this once and for all!’
“… I motioned to (King), who was already inside, to come over to the door. (Little) was distracted for a moment so I was finally able to enter the room. She kept up a caustic, verbal abuse for another minute or two, until I was able to find a seat and sit down. I still have no idea what she was talking about as her sentences were not even coherent.”
2 Becky Hyde, an upper Klamath rancher, who attended the meeting said Cheri Little, 56, “gave him a piece of her mind.”
“But,” she added, “welcome to the political world.”
Mallams and King were at the meeting with anti-dam removal signs attached to their trucks. They had attended several meetings to speak about the settlement agreements, distracting from the affordable power program, Hyde said.
“They were there as agitators,” she said. “That’s the role they’re playing everywhere we go.
“These were informational meetings held by (Klamath Water and Power Agency) to explain how the program might work and allow (irrigators) to sign onto the power load.”
Mallams said organizers were promoting “a lie, or some people call it a scam.”
He said he’s certain the list of irrigators who are interested in the program will end up in Washington, D.C., as a list of people who support the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. “There’s no doubt in my mind that’s what this is for.”
• • •
“When this meeting in Chiloquin began, the first order of business was to introduce (King) and myself as the ‘major opponents of the KBRA and KHSA.’ This was done by Hollie Cannon, the director of KWAPA and board member of (Klamath Basin Power Alliance). (Cannon) was conducting this meeting.”
“(Cannon) was very abrasive to me in Chiloquin,” King said. “He put us out there in public as being opponents to the KBRA before the meeting even started.”
“I’m not a bit sorry I did that,” Cannon said afterward. “I think it was the right thing to do.”
3 Cannon opened the meetings clarifying the program was not about the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, but about how irrigators who move water for agriculture can participate in the affordable power program.
All irrigators can participate in the program, regardless of whether they signed on to the agreements.
“It’s very frustrating,” Cannon said. “After the first two meetings I realized there were people there not for the information. Their purpose there was to campaign against the KBRA, so I introduced them that way.
“… I had to cut them off at times. I didn’t want to limit questions, but when it got to the point it was campaigning against the KBRA I had to cut them off to be respectful of everybody’s time.”
King and Mallams maintain their comments were pertinent.
“The power program is out of section 17.2 of the KBRA,” Mallams said. “How can you say it’s not part of the KBRA when it’s in the KBRA? … They don’t want the connection because it’s a negative connection.”
• • •
“After this public meeting … we went outside to find two signs opposing dam removal, (which) were attached to a private vehicle, destroyed. This vehicle was parked directly in front of the Community Center. Another board member, (Hyde), commented, “What did you expect coming to a meeting in Chiloquin?” Apparently our constitutional rights to freedom of expression are somehow suspended at federally funded events in Chiloquin.”
Hyde said Mallams took the comment out of context. She was helping them pick up the pieces of the sign, apologizing that it had happened, and empathized, relating to them a time when her signs were destroyed at an event.
“It’s not acceptable for anybody to destroy someone else’s political signs,” Hyde said. 4 “But it’s obvious that many people do not agree with (Mallams). People are voicing their concerns. … But we don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
4 “To say our side is unpopular is totally false,” Mallams said. “The other side is completely losing their temper.”
“I also find it disturbing that the KBRA is constantly being sold with false and misleading statements. For example, at the (power program) meeting in Bonanza, Ore., on Sept. 19, I pointed out that the KBRA mandates that off-Project irrigators must allow the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council or a local partner to access their private property to assess compliance with the ‘conservation plan’ in order to qualify for the affordable power program. The president of … (Klamath Basin Power Alliance) Karl Scronce strongly denied that the KBRA said any such thing. Over his objection, I quoted directly from KBRA, (section) 17.3.2, which says exactly that.”
“The program is meant to bring more affordable power to our irrigators, and we need that, we desperately need that,” Hyde said. “Ninety-five percent of the landowners were just trying to figure out how to get more (Bonneville Power Administration) power.”
Cannon clarified the clause was for enforcement, allowing program administrators to ensure off-Project irrigators who participated in the power program were holding up their end of the bargain with conservation measures.
Irrigators on the Klamath Reclamation Project and off-Project irrigators who participate in the Water Use Retirement Program are exempt. The retirement program is a concession off-Project water users made in the KBRA, requiring them to retire 30,000 acre-feet of water from irrigation.
“The whole foundation of the KBRA is conserving water to make it available for endangered species,” Cannon said. “In exchange for that, agriculture gets a reliable allocation of water, whereas now the allocation is very unreliable.”
3 “It’s a complete lie. There is no affordable power in this program,” he said. “If we’re not there (Cannon) calls it ‘affordable power.’ If we’re there he calls it ‘stable power.’”
Once the program is implemented, irrigators will pay close to the PacifiCorp tariff price for electricity, about 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. One irrigation pump uses between 140,000 and 240,000 kWh of electricity annually.
But the program would stabilize prices by buying power from Bonneville Power Administration, a federal power-marketing agency that sells electricity to utilities at a reduced rate. Then PacifiCorp would distribute power with its infrastructure.
“The reality of the program is that affordable power for irrigators in the Klamath Basin is an extremely difficult task to achieve,” Cannon said. “Our efforts now are probably not going to have large benefits initially, but over time they will.
“But if we don’t start somewhere, sometime, we’ll never get any benefits.”
Herald and News included excerpts of Tom Mallams letter recounting abuse toward him at a public meeting on affordable power, part of the KBRA / Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
1 HERE is his entire letter from Klamath Off Project Water Users Association to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
2 Becky Hyde is married to a rancher in the Off-Project in the Upper Klamath Basin. Hyde's relatively new little group, Upper Klamath Water Users Association, claiming to represent off-Project irrigators, is allowed at the KBRA table and also the PacifiCorp dam removal negotiation table. Hyde works for SNW, Sustainable NW, an environmental group that has worked for the Klamath Tribes.
SNW president Martin Goebel was director of World Wildlife Fund, funded by Soros-funded Tides; WWF is partner of United Nations Foundation with Soros and Ford Foundation. Soros helps fund Earthjustice, which provides free legal fees for the environmental groups at the KBRA table, groups who sue resource users. Goebel is Trustee for Summit Charitable Foundation owned by Roger Sant. The company is a five year span granted Sustainable NW $342,875. The funds come from Sant's company AES, worldwide developer of power in 29 countries, power "from coal to gas to renewables such as wind, hydro and biomass."
SNW Klamath Programs Director James Honey was born and raised in Mexico and is a graduate of Stanford University. His background includes complex class action litigation, and conservation work with the World Wildlife Fund Mexico and the California Hydropower Reform Coalition."
California Hydropower Reform Coalition dam removal magazine "Restore", boasts of the many dams the following groups have caused to remove. Many of the groups below are funded by Soros>Tides> , and a litigant of many of them, Earthjustice, is funded by Soros. nearly half of the steering committee consists of environmental groups that are voting members in the KBRA.
Off-Project group Resource Conservancy, which Mallams is a member, representing more than 100,000 acres, was not allowed at the KBRA table by KBRA and dam removal proponents. KOPWUA was kicked off of the KBRA stakeholder group when they refused to sign the KBRA because the others refused to negotiate with them. It was no longer a consensus group. KOPWUA was denied access to any of the dam removal meetings because Mallams refused to sign the additional confidentiality and protocol agreements in the closed-door meetings.
Monday Oct 3, Klamath Falls, meeting about signing up for cheaper power rater for irrigators, "Water For Power" (Approximately 50 people attended this meeting.
4 Nearly 80% of Siskiyou County, home of 3 Klamath River hydroelectric dams to be destroyed, opposed the KBRA/dam removal "agreement," 77% of Tulelake opposed dam removal agreement, and 1/2 of Klamath County, home of one dam proposed to be destroyed. In the recent KBRA public meeting with Dept of Interior, 72%, spoke in opposition to the KBRA/dam removal agreement. More polls HERE
Page Updated: Sunday November 06, 2011 02:37 AM Pacific
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