Water settlement process is flawed
by Tom Mallams, April 22, 2009 Herald and News Commentary.
President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
Once again the corrupt process overpowers logic, common sense, and
A small non-representative group being added to the Klamath
settlement group is another example of how corrupt the dam removal
and Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement group process continues to
Upper Klamath Water Users Association was added in the so-called
consensus-driven meeting, even with the opposition of at least
three of the groups. Its addition to the main group is just
another “rubber stamp” of the federal government-, tribal- and
I guess “consensus” doesn’t always mean consensus in this flawed
process. It is like being sort of pregnant – you are or you are
not. You can’t have it both ways.
We have been promised that this process would always be a
consensus-driven group. At the same time we made “another” formal
request to add one or two truly representative irrigation groups
in the Upper Basin — the Sprague River Water Users and/or Resource
Conservancy which represents a very substantial group of
irrigators comprising approximately 125,000 irrigated acres.
This request was turned down again and instead the small group
representing approximately 2,000 irrigated acres was added to the
The obvious intention is to exclude any group that is not in
complete agreement, to force the public, without due process, into
dam removal, a tribal land gift, and the so-called “promise” of
water guarantee for the Klamath Project, under the guise of
“saving the river.”
No credible science
There is still no credible science that states dam removal will
even help the river or support fish survival if the dams are
removed. There is equal logic that concludes that dam removal
would actually worsen conditions with no sustained late season
Actual dam removal costs are shown by two current federal
government studies to be in the billions of dollars. The
Department of Interior and the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission both completed these studies.
Fish ladders and structure upgrades certainly seem to be the best
option at a cost estimated to be approximately $350 million. I see
that an additional $4 million of our tax dollars has been
allocated for another feasibility study on dam removal costs.
The question needs to be asked, “How many Federal Government
funded studies does it take to determine the actual cost of dam
removal?” The rhetorical answer is “As many as it takes to come up
with a number that favors dam removal.”
We are still committed to a Basin-wide settlement, but it has to
be equitable and it is not even close to that as it is written
This is evidenced by more participants in the Klamath Settlement
Group formally dropping out of further talks, because of similar
concerns we have been raising. Our numerous attempts to introduce
beneficial amendments in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement
to address off-Project water users’ concerns are being portrayed
as a roadblock by some.
We are still trying to work with the settlement process, in spite
of continually being excluded and ignored in our requests for
changes in the agreement.