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Fellow Klamath Chamber Members,

from Brandan Topham, Flying T Ranch regarding Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement

followed by RESPONSE from the Chamber director Charles Massey:


Last fall Flying T Beef was privileged to join the Klamath Chamber of Commerce because the Chamber claimed "We are dedicated to advancing the economic vitality of Klamath County by promoting, retaining, and supporting existing businesses." We liked that idea and wanted to be involved in those goals.
I was dismayed to read that the Chamber has decided to support the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). Having read the 369 pages of legal alphabet soup that comprise the KBRA I can only conclude that the Chamber leadership either did not read the agreement or they did not understand what they read.
The Chamber says they support the KBRA because of the money it will bring. Yes, the agreement begs Oregon and California voters for money and also begs the Federal Government for more money. It should be noted though this money is not guaranteed by the agreement. See section 2.2.3 in the KBRA.
The chamber also said they support the KBRA because it will "yield meaningful stability for critical agricultural industry in the region". If by stable they mean helping to stop off-project irrigation, killing most of the off-project economy and no guarantee of water for on-project irrigators, they are correct.
A few other things that the Chamber is endorsing when they support the KBRA. They are
*supporting the incidental killing of protected species of wildlife and will help try to change California law to make it legal for the people involved to incidently kill the Lost River sucker, shortnose sucker, golden eagle, southern bald eagle, greater sandhill crane, and American peregrine falcon. Section 24.
*supporting the Klamath tribes claims to off-project surface water. The Klamath Tribe is claiming substantially more water than exists above Klamath Lake. If these claims are successful, all surface irrigation above Klamath Lake will cease, which will have massive negative consequences for the whole county. Section 16.2.1.
*To apply for the power program “Klamath Tribal allottees... shall be given the option of priority participation” over non-Tribal members. Section 19.5.3.
 That is favoritism of tribal members based only on race, also known as reverse racism.
I consider it immoral to give favoritism to anyone.  I do not see begging the government for money in trade for removing dams and drying up thousand of acres of land good for the 'economic vitality' of Klamath County or existing business. In particular, I can not be part of a group who is supporting the destruction of my family ranch. As a result Flying T Beef is withdrawing from the Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to continuing to work with chamber members on an individual basis. I hope the Chamber leadership will take the time to read the KBRA and reassess their position.
For those who are interested in reading further, I have references and the top ten reasons I cannot support the KBRA or be part of a group that does at www.flyingtsalers.com/KBRA/
Thanks for your time,
Brandan Topham
Flying T Beef

RESPONSE from the Chamber director Charles Massey:

Brandan and Bruce,

The Chamber Board understands some members of our organization may not be supportive of the decision to endorse the KBRA.  After a thoughtful and engaging discussion the Executive Committee recommended to the full General Board that the Chamber publicly support the agreement and work to represent the local business community in future discussions and the future implementation of the agreement.  The KBRA has far reaching impacts on the business community as a whole and the large number of supportive stakeholders, including Federal and State governments, indicates the process will continue to gain momentum. The Board agreed it was important to be involved in a positive way, including giving voice to those entities with opposing arguments to insure the agreements are implemented in a way that addresses the economic and business interests of the entire community. The Chamber is well placed to do that. We hope members who have strong feelings on either side of the issue will stay involved in the discussion and allow the Chamber to air all concerns as the process moves forward.

We are sorry to lose you as a member and hope you will consider rejoining our organization sometime in the future.  Our goals will always include helping members promote their businesses locally and beyond the borders of Klamath County and providing representation on a variety of business and economic issues, including those who support or oppose agreements like the KBRA and Dam Removal Agreement.


Charles Massie, Executive Director Klamath County Chamber of Commerce 541-884-5193


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