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Water for Life believes agreement process unfair

Herald and News letter to the editor November 3, 2009 by Bill Wilber, President Water for Life, Portland
    Water for Life is a nonprofit organization with the sole mission of protecting agricultural water rights in the West.

    In the past 20 years, we have been successful developing rules allowing the sharing of conserved water for both streamflow and agriculture, in obtaining cost share for installation of fish screens on water diversions, preventing the state from issuing in-stream water rights for more water then would naturally flow and providing a transition for increased rates for commercial rate-payers in the Klamath Basin.

    Water for Life represents agricultural water users throughout Oregon by being objective about issues and looking at the long-term impact of water decisions. Water for Life has members on both sides of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and after careful consideration we are opposing it on the basis of the process used to reach the “agreement.” How can you say there is consensus when contestants are excluded from the discussion?

    The plan to incorporate the KBRA into the Klamath adjudication would create a situation where dissenting parties would be subject to regulation prior to having their day in court. This is essentially being found guilty before trial.

    There appears to be a conflict of interest for some KBRA proponents. It would be good to look at their level of deniability and what they are personally gaining from participation in these proceedings.

    Water for Life strongly supports settlement of the Klamath adjudication, but only in a fair and open fashion. To imply that opponents are eager to litigate is a misrepresentation; it cost dearly to pursue justice.

    Water for Life has earned a reputation with legislators, water users and government agencies as being fair, balanced and fact-based in our advocacy for a balanced water management plan in every basin. Diminishing the importance of production agriculture in this country is championing importing not just oil, but food.
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