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KBRA proponents’ spin doesn’t hold up to the facts   
Herald and News Letter to the Editor October 28, 2010, by Edward Bartell, Orovada, Nevada

 Editor’s note: Edward Bartell is a former Klamath County rancher who was active in water issues, especially in efforts to get low-cost power guarantees for ranchers and farmers.

   It is time to start calling Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement proponents on their misleading spin.

   For example, two Klamath County commissioners wrote a guest opinion implying that KBRA modifies the biological opinion to provide water to farmers. Unfortunately, such language cannot be found in the KBRA. In fact, the KBRA specifically states that by signing the KBRA the government is not prejudging the outcome of any Endangered Species Act process (KBRA Section 22.5).
   Other proponents have stated the KBRA “guarantees” water for farmers. The KBRA does not guarantee water for farmers. In fact, in order to set the process in motion for litigants to go after more water from Klamath Reclamation Project farmers, KBRA signatories have to “believe” that Klamath Project deliveries “may” jeopardize endangered fish (KBRA Section 21.3.1.B.iv.e). It is hard to imagine how the KBRA could have set the standard any lower for going after Klamath Project water.  
   KBRA proponents’ spin is different when talking to environmentalists. For example, in Eureka, where taking water from Klamath farmers is popular, the Times Standard quotes a major architect of the KBRA as stating “there are no guarantees of water for farms in the agreement, only a cap on how much can be diverted,” a decidedly different story than the “water guarantees” Klamath County residents hear about.
   Instead, water marketing dollars are the primary thing agriculture is getting out of KBRA. A few farmers have made a lot of money selling water, including pumping large wells that are threatening other farm and domestic wells. The KBRA provides in excess of $100 million for various water marketing schemes.
   Voters have an excellent opportunity to reject the spin and to make their voices heard by voting yes on Measure 18-80. Klamath County should pull out of the KBRA and take a strong stand against it.
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              Page Updated: Thursday October 28, 2010 11:39 PM  Pacific

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