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Opponent testifies at committee hearing     

by Ty Beaver, Herald and News 8/7/10

An opponent of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and its related Klamath River dam removal agreement told federal lawmakers that allowing the document to go through would ignore previous studies on dam removal and hurt the Basin’s economy.

   Tom Mallams, president of the Klamath Off Project Water Users, testified before the House Subcommittee on Water and Power two weeks ago regarding the use of federal stimulus funds by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

   Mallams told lawmakers he took no issue with how most of the stimulus money was used for infrastructure projects but criticized how a portion of that money funded studies on dam removal.

   “Studying tearing out dams is not building infrastructure,” he said.

   He said government officials ignored previous studies on dam removal because they show it being too expensive, and dam removal would hurt land values around the reservoirs and result in lost jobs. Mallams said Congress has been mislead to think there’s broad support of the restoration agreement when many Basin residents actually oppose it.  

   Written response

   Proponents of the KBRA submitted a written response to Mallams’ comments. They denied that the document or dam removal would eradicate long-term jobs or that there is a misconception of support, pointing to the diverse groups that have signed onto the document.

   “It has been our collective experience in this river basin that it is often easier to campaign against solutions than it is to stand up for them,” the letter read.

   Mallams also said proponents sought to prevent him from testifying before the subcommittee, sending letters to its members.

   Greg Addington, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, said he and board member Steve Kandra did communicate with U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. McClintock is the ranking Republican on the subcommittee.

   Addington said those letters questioned why Mallams was scheduled to speak on issues pertaining to Reclamation rather than an irrigator or someone else associated with a Reclamation operation.

   “It is flatly untrue that we tried to block his testimony or keep him from speaking or cancel the hearing,” Addington said.
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