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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Cards already shuffled secretly for agreement  
Herald and News Letter to the Editor October 10, 2010 by Brandon Criss, Butte Valley rancher
    In the Sept. 23 Herald and News, an advocate for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement stated, “Right now it’s a judge in San Francisco deciding how much water a farmer gets.”
   The judges’ interpretations of the Endangered Species Act caused the 2001 water crisis and it’s claimed the KBRA takes control from those judges. That would be great, but we must look at whom the KBRA gives control to.
   Currently, the water is controlled by the government, tribes and radical environmentalists. Under the KBRA, water is controlled by the “Klamath Basin Coordinating Council,” composed of: five government agencies, three tribes, two environmentalist groups — already, 10 out of 18 members who support the 2001 and 2010 water shortages.
   Farmers have three votes; Klamath, Siskiyou, Del Norte, Humboldt, one vote each; fishermen, one vote.
   That’s basically continuation of the status quo that hurt farmers in the first place. Those groups may give us a “seat at the table,” but the poker cards have already been secretly shuffled to benefit those already in control.
   It’s naive to replace judges with the plaintiff’s suing farmers and expect a different result.
   It’s especially true since the KBRA can be interpreted different ways. Craig Tucker, the Karuk Tribe’s negotiator for the KBRA, defended the KBRA, saying that there are no guarantees of water for farms in the agreement, only a cap on how much can be diverted.  
   “What’s capped in this agreement is agricultural water use,” Tucker said. (The Times-Standard July 15, 2010)   
   Under the KBRA, we lose four fully functional hydropower dams which provide enough electricity for 70,000 homes and some downriver flood protection.
   Sadly, after dam removal, Shasta Valley farmers lose 60,000 acre-feet of senior water rights storage they have sought to develop.
   It’s obvious why U.S. Rep Tom McClintock (Modoc County) calls it all “absolute insanity.”  
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