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Water users bow to environmentalists

Herald and News letter to editor by Bill Newell, Klamath Falls May 1, 2008

   During the water theft of 2001, it was said that all eyes were on the Klamath Basin because whatever happened here would set a precedent for the entire West. I, and many others, had high hopes that common sense would prevail. Unfortunately, we were wrong. The environmentalists won the war, and the had help from a surprising source.
   The Klamath Water Users Association has chosen to appease the environmental groups by demanding the removal of the dams on the Klamath River. If these dams were removed, there will be no dam system anywhere that is safe, including those on the Columbia, which produced the cheap power that the Klamath Water Users Association wants.
   Environmental groups should never have been allowed at the table when the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement was drafted. The groups have no dependence on the Klamath River water, and certainly no right to it, yet the Klamath Water Users Association and other stakeholders are treating them as equal partners.
   Environmentalists have proven time and again that they cannot tell the truth. They may claim that they will not bring lawsuits against the involved parties, but they canít be trusted. Litigation is their livelihood. They will not rest until there is no productive use of natural resources.
   Those who came across the nation to support us in 2001 must surely be disappointed. The message we are sending is clear. Do not fight for what is right, but take whatever your adversaries will give you.
   Bill Newell
   Klamath Falls
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