Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Mallams understands threat of the KBRA
Herald and News Letter to the Editor April 17, 2012 by Edward Bartell, Orovada, NV. Bartell formerly ranched north of the Klamath Project and represented Off-Project irrigators.
In response to Cheri Unruh’s April 4 inaccurate attack on Tom Mallams: Mallams does not favor shutting down the Klamath Project, I stood with him in 2001 supporting Klamath Project irrigators’ right to irrigate.
The Bureau of Reclamation in 1997 filed for all the water in the Basin, 1.1 million acre-feet. Mr. Mallams like other people in the adjudication had to acquiesce that the Bureau owned all the water, including his, or challenge the claim. There have been numerous offers by upper Basin irrigators to settle these challenges, with full project irrigation deliveries. All irrigators outside the project want is their water to be left alone. These settlement offers have been rebuffed by a handful of project irrigators. Unruh should be attacking these obstructionists instead of Mr. Mallams.
As for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement guaranteeing 330,000 acre-feet for project farmers, KBRA says no such thing. The trigger for the environmentalists or Tribes to go after more Endangered Species Act water from Project farmers, beyond the 330,000 acre feet is they have to “believe” irrigation diversions “may” jeopardize endangered species (KBRA21.3.1.B.iv.e).
Furthermore the KBRA makes it abundantly clear that Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service are not prejudging the outcome of any ESA process (KBRA22.5). In other words the biological opinions can and will continue to be used to shut down the Klamath Project just like they are now.
Mallams understands what a disaster the KBRA and dam removal will be for Klamath County and its economy. It is unfortunate there is such an orchestrated personal smear campaign against Mallams rather than reasoned arguments based on the facts of what the KBRA says.
Perhaps there are no reasoned arguments for borrowing another billion dollars from communist China to tear down America’s dams, while failing to protect agricultural water from the ESA.
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Page Updated: Monday July 23, 2012 12:35 AM Pacific
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