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Irrigation districts required to file petition
By SARA HOTTMAN, H&N 2/10/11
     Three area irrigation districts filed a petition asking Klamath County Circuit Court to validate their abilities to sign onto a controversial water agreement.
   The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement requires the validations. Klamath, Malin and Shasta View irrigation districts filed the petition in June.
   “This filing was required of our district as outlined by K BRA,” said Luke Robison, manager of Shasta View and Malin irrigation districts, “The main focus during this process was achieving water reliability, affordable power and relief from environmental regulations.”
   The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement is a $1.5 billion agreement between stakeholders in water on the Klamath Reclamation Project.
   It aims to establish sustainable water supplies and affordable power rates for irrigators, remove four hydroelectric dams owned by PacifiCorp, help the Klamath Tribes acquire a 92,000-acre parcel of private timberland, and fund habitat restoration and economic development throughout the region.
   The agreement requires signatories to seek court validation, showing irrigation boards have the authority to sign irrigators onto such an agreement, said Greg Addington, director of the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators.
   According to the KBRA, districts that wanted to participate had to file for validation within four months of its signing, which was Feb. 18, 2010. On June 18, Klamath, Malin and Shasta View irrigation districts met that requirement.
   The court will assess whether irrigation boards went through the correct process to sign on to the agreement — such as holding meetings and taking public comment.
   “My understanding is that our board agreed with KBRA and signed onto the agreement,” said Mark Stuntebeck, the relatively new manager of Klamath Irrigation District. “We are asking to court to say the board can make that decision for the district.”
   Opposition parties, including some Project irrigators whose boards have gone through the validation process, on Tuesday filed a response to the districts’ petition. The response says because the KBRA has not been authorized by the U.S. Congress, the filing for validation isn’t legal.
   The response specifies Shasta View, Malin and Klamath irrigation districts. Robison said nine other districts have already completed the validation process.
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              Page Updated: Wednesday February 16, 2011 03:39 AM  Pacific

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