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Get out: Vote for 18-80, and against dam removal

  By FRANK GOODSON, Fort Klamath, Herald and News 10/20/10

   Guest writer
     Your yes vote on Measure 18-80 is of big, big importance to the future of Klamath County and here is why:

   The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, with its expensive “dam removal” and expensive “90,000-acres for the Tribe” components, is not a done deal. It is not a done deal, no matter what our commissioners claim, because it has not been funded by Congress and is not likely to be funded, especially if the majority of us vote yes on Measure 18-80.

   Even our present liberal-controlled Congress sees problems with the KBRA and has refused to bring up the billions of dollars in funding. Funding has had difficulty in California, too.

   Strong public opposition has caused the $200 million funding for Klamath Dam removal, via California bonds, to be removed from the ballot. Funding will become even more difficult in the future.  

   After the Nov. 2 election we’re going to have a new Congress that will vote much more conservatively and its members will want to know how the voters of Klamath County stand on removing dams and giving lands to the Klamath Tribes at taxpayers’ expense.

   After the Nov. 2 election, we’re going to have a new Oregon governor, almost certainly Republican Chris Dudley, and we’re going to have a new, more conservative, Oregon Legislature and they will all want to know how the voters stand.

   The country and the state have major financial difficulties. Funding for billion-dollar liberal programs, like the KBRA, will likely fail.

   As you know Klamath County Commissioners Cheryl Hukill, John Elliott and Al Switzer “signed on” to the KBRA a few months back, because, as they said, “its important to be at the table.” But without congressional funding there is no table. Without congressional   and California funding there will never be a KBRA table.

   Your yes vote and your neighbors’ yes votes are very, very important. Let’s save our dams and stop the purchase of 90,000 acres for the Tribes.   Let’s get rid of the table. Vote yes on Measure 18-80.

   One of the biggest problems with the KBRA is the federal Endangered Species Act. The occasional “droughts” in the Klamath Basin have not been caused by nature but rather by the Endangered Species Act and endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake.

   Unfortunately, the KBRA exacerbates the Endangered Species Act’s problems. First, the KBRA specifically states that nothing in the KBRA affects or changes the Endangered Species Act. Then the KBRA stipulates that four Klamath River dams must be removed to allow salmon introduction to Upper Klamath Lake and the Basin.  

   As a retired fisheries biologist and environmental professional, I can guarantee you that even if salmon don’t migrate all the way to Upper Klamath Lake, other aquatic species surely will (if the dams are removed) and some of those new species, perhaps even the salmon, too, will ultimately be declared endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, further endangering the livelihood of us Upper Basin residents, business people, farmers and ranchers.

   Save our dams. Stop the tax money purchase of 90,000 acres. Slow down the Endangered Species Act. Vote yes on Measure 18-80.
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