Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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GUEST OPINION: Dam survey is fraudulent
Klamath River, Calif. — I am a longtime resident of Siskiyou County. The federal government has apparently decided to “restore” the Klamath River Basin by implementing a project that, among other things, would remove four dams from the Klamath River.
A Yreka friend was recently the recipient of a survey, commissioned and funded by the U.S. Department of Interior entitled “Restoring a U.S. River Basin: What is Your Opinion?”
My friend shared the survey with me. Since this survey was purportedly sent to 11,000 randomly selected households in the entire country, statistically it is somewhat remarkable that my friend, or for that matter anyone in Siskiyou County, received the survey.
Recipients of the survey are asked to participate regardless of whether they have any knowledge of the Klamath River Basin or the proposed project. The survey states: “Even if you have never heard of the Klamath River, your opinions are very important to us and this research project.” It goes on to state: “The information from the survey will help the U.S. Department of the Interior decide what to do and how much to spend, if anything, on improving conditions in the Klamath River Basin. This is an opportunity for you to provide government decision makers with your opinion about whether and how tax dollars should be spent on this issue.”
This so-called “survey” really got to me. The survey is outrageous, biased, a sham and improper use of tax money! The survey questions assume to be true “scientific” facts that have been strongly challenged by other experts and people with direct knowledge. These “facts” inform the survey recipient that the dams have caused declining fish populations including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. These “facts” suggest to the survey recipient that the dams have threatened and endangered the Shortnose Sucker, Lost River Sucker and coho salmon populations. These “facts” inform the survey recipient that the dam removals and other aspects of the project will reduce the chances of extinction of certain fish populations and improve water quality. These “facts” suggest that removal of the dams will somehow increase water deliveries to farms.
The survey minimizes the potential real cost and detriment resulting from dam removal. The survey conceals from the survey recipient that a substantial number of informed, knowledgeable people vehemently disagree with many of the “facts” assumed in the survey questions.
The survey then asks the recipient to vote on various options to mitigate the issues presented in the survey as “facts.” The options include “No Action,” “Action Plan A” (which includes dam removal), and “Action Plan B” (which also includes dam removal).
Nowhere does the survey inform the recipient that proposals have been presented by informed and knowledgeable people that would mitigate issues short of dam removal.
Assuming it to be true that the survey was sent to 11,000 random households throughout the entire United States, it is likely that only a very small fraction of the survey takers would have any information that there really is another side of the story.
It comes through loud and clear to anyone who does know something about the Klamath River Basin issues that the survey is not designed to honestly assess the true public opinion, but rather to elicit only the responses that the government wants, for political purposes.
Given the way the survey is presented, the vast majority of the survey takers, not being given the information that there is another side of the story, will be convinced to respond in favor of dam removal. Responding in any other manner would be like voting against mother and apple pie.
This is fraudulent, and a wantonly improper use of the taxpayers’ money. Everyone, regardless of whether they sincerely favor or disfavor dam removal, should be outraged.
Page Updated: Sunday October 30, 2011 01:10 AM Pacific
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