Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
KBC editor responds to Ms Becky Hyde
by "a neighbor"
The bottom line, Ms Hyde, is more than 300 people came to the public input meeting on the KBRA/Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. 81 people spoke. They came to tell their elected officials, commissioners, and others their solutions. They wanted to ask to work with those on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and give them input.
Unlike your secret meetings negotiating our water rights, Legislators Gilman and Garrard and Senator Whitsett invited you, the tribes, Klamath Water Users Association, PacifiCorp, Klamath County Commissioners, and the entire public, and you chose NOT to listen to your neighbors and the people you claim to represent.
Instead you met with the Klamath Water Users, County Commissioners, PacifiCorp, Tribes, and other secret negotiators behind closed doors that very afternoon. You devalue the old professor, the young father, the Project irrigator, the off project irrigator, the businessman, the elected city official, the young woman trying to make a go of ranching, because you don't care enough to listen or include them. One elderly man who spoke is a Lifetime Honorary member of Oregon Water Resources Congress and National Water Resources Assoc, served on Governor Aiteh's DEQ (1976) and Water Policy Review boards (1983).You didn't listen! You say they have 'rampant fear" and anxiety" and are 'upset' and 'scared' and blasted their pathetic "3 minute sound bites." You make me sick!
Klamath Resource Conservancy, a group representing every off project irrigator in the adjudication, and tens of thousands of acres of land, was not allowed at your elite KBRA negotiation table. Why? And why are you at the table with your new little group? Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that you were paid by Sustainable NW $63,835 in 2007. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that SNW works for the Klamath Tribe who wants our land and water and has an easement on your property. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that they've paid your parents $77,557 in 2006, Natural Beef Coop, and pay your new little off project group's attorney bills. Yet you claim to be at the table representing these neighbors who you won't listen to. Who did not elect you. Who do not want you, an employee of the groups trying to take their water and groundwater and land, to 'represent' them. Have you no shame, conscience or soul?
You condescendingly say they should pull on their little boots and change the situation, "work very hard", and do important complex things like you do, while you ban them from the negotiations, and won't let them read your plan for them.
You say, "hope for a strong future in agriculture?!" when the government agencies have already taken more than 100,000 acres of their agricultural land, flooding and evaporating twice the water they use, and your 'agreement' demands they retire tens of thousands of acre feet more water, gives them no break on regulations, and further controls their ground water.
These pathetic little people that you are too important to listen to are not stupid. Many have read the draft agreement they were allowed to see nearly 2 yrs ago, even though most of it has changed since then, the part they are not allowed to see.
"Simply letting the adjudication run its course—without working on a settlement at the same time makes little sense." Ms. Hyde, remember, you are not allowing us to work on a settlement. Many are real stakeholders who have lived here for generations, unlike you. They don't work for an environmental group, and the tribes don't own the easement on their property, like you. They are real farmers and ranchers and businesspeople, and if you had been big enough to hear their voices, you would have heard their continuous requests to be allowed to work on a settlement and many, believe it or not educated, solutions.
You call it a "fair process"? When their so-called leaders won't allow them at the table, won't allow them a voice, much less a vote, and won't even listen to their miserable little 3 minute "sound bites" at "rallies"!?! Who do you think you are? These 6 hours of solutions, testimonies, scientific information, and yes, feelings too, are more than you or your fellow negotiators have offered the people.
When nearly 2000 people signed petitions opposing the KBRA, people from Modoc, Siskiyou, and Klamath Counties, as well as many members of the Karuk Tribe, you wouldn't listen.
When our elected officials hired a
professional poll to be conducted in Klamath county that showed:
you criticized the elected officials and the poll.
So when the elected officials welcomed everyone to attending the public input meeting to be sure the poll got it right, and when the public unanimously opposed the dam removal and KBRA mandates, you only devalue them with your condescending words "rally" and "soundbites" of stupid people "crossing (their) fingers" and "being scared," and you would not listen. Who is scared?
Now that you, in all your wisdom, have supported a closed-door, non transparent 'settlement', opposed legitimate stakeholders being at the table, supported an "agreement" with no water storage for agriculture, planting fish parasites/lamprey in the Klamath basin along with other endangered fish, supported water transfers, downsizing agriculture, agreeing to upholding everything in the ESA and biological opinions, giving land to the Klamath Tribe that they sold, supported a group of government agencies, tribes and NGO's and only 2 farm reps in a non-consensus, newly unelected government, decimating not only your community but also your neighbors, except for the few in your little group with attorney's paid for by the environmental group you work for, rumor has it you've sold your soul.
I'll pray it ain't so.
Agreement with Senator Harper
by Becky Hyde, employee of Sustainable NW, environmental group which works for the Klamath Tribes, 12/7/09
I appreciate Senator Harper challenging parties for “combat soldier type behavior in relation to being concerned about the safety and well being of the people around us.” I share this value and believe it is an important place to be coming from as we work forward on issues of water and settlement in the Klamath Basin.
Harper points out his disappointment that proponents of a settlement in the basin did not attend Senator Whitsett’s listening session. I also feel deep sadness over the level of anxiety and fear that he feels were displayed by some of my neighbors in the off project, and others who are upset about the agreement. I have been to many of these sessions over the last ten years, where primarily off project irrigators, and other community members share their fears and concerns. It’s a discouraging and hopeless environment.
At some point though—living in a state of fear does not change your situation. You have to pull on the boots in the morning—head out the door and get to work changing your situation. In the Klamath Basin—unfortunately that means working very hard with people you may not get along with at all. It means seriously contemplating extremely tough, unpopular issues like dam removal. It means addressing issues that are complex, and also learning fully your opponent’s position, and trying hard to figure out if there are any glimmers of reconciliation available.
Personally and now through our organization Upper Klamath Water Users, an off project organization working for power, water and regulatory assurances we are working to turn the fear of some of our neighbors into hope for a strong future in agriculture in the off project.
I certainly listen to concerns, and have for years. Many others who I work with continue to listen, and try very hard to address concerns that have come from opponents to the agreement. For the last two years many off project irrigators have worked to make changes in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement that address specifically the concerns of the off project. We have done legal analysis of important questions of Oregon Water law, which have come up repeatedly by opponents to the KBRA. We have worked hard to make sure there is equalization of power benefits in the document—and also worked with other parties to help assure that there will even be a power benefit.
We have worked hard to create a process to settle complex water issues with the Klamath Tribes so that our off project community can feel stability over water. Ranchers and farmers who do not want to live in fear, who understand that change is present in this basin and likely won’t go away have joined us. We are learning to adapt to a changing world. This has always been the case for business, and I would say agriculture is certainly not immune from this.
I challenge community leaders like Senator Harper, and also folks who are scared, to look closely, and talk carefully with the folks who’ve been working on these agreements. I believe that my neighbors have a good chance at affordable power through these agreements—a power rate they certainly will not have without a settlement. I believe that a fair process—which finally begins to address real technical questions to reach a settlement on water, is contemplated in this settlement agreement for the off project. The adjudication will go forward even if this agreement is in place. Nobody is taking away the right of those in the off project, especially contestants to litigate.
Senator Harper rightly noted that completing the adjudication will bring great certainty to who has, and who does not have, water. My concern is that by the time this happens, it will be too late for too many Off Project irrigators whose junior priority dates may very likely leave them with little water after tribal in-stream rights are filled. UKWUA is not trying to do away with Adjudication, only to come up with a design for either a stipulated settlement to the Adjudication—that would provide all the certainty of a full Adjudication—or a set of private agreements—which we would ensure could be enforced that again would try to more fairly split water between irrigation and in-stream needs.
Further, Adjudication provides no resources to help losers. Under the settlement, we have budgets to help us use creative means—including water conservation, leasing, sales and also improving irrigation practices, juniper management, and other means to try to reduce the impact on irrigators who may not be in a good position in the Adjudication. We must face this potential reality. Simply letting the adjudication run its course—without working on a settlement at the same time makes little sense.
I believe working for the best regulatory assurances possible is part of the mission of this settlement agreement. Crossing our fingers, being scared and wishing endangered fish would go away—is just not productive, and it does not protect us.
I challenge our community to look deep into these agreements when they release—and not just allow thinking to be clouded by rampant fear. I challenge our community to also sit down with the folks who have worked hard to put these agreements together—and try to really understand the logic behind the document. Unfortunately—this cannot be done in three minute sound bites at fairground rallies. I certainly wish it was that simple.
I accept Senator Harper’s challenge to continue to look out for the safety and well being of those around me. Thanks.
Page Updated: Monday January 31, 2011 01:07 AM Pacific
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