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Poll shows overwhelming opposition to Klamath River dam removal


Salem – Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), Representative George Gilman (R-Medford) and Representative Bill Garrard (R-Klamath Falls) have commissioned a poll to determine the views of citizens of Klamath County in regards to Senate Bill 76-A, a bill that begins the process of dam removal on Klamath River. The poll confirms a large level of opposition to SB 76-A from the residents that live around the Klamath River.

“Many in Salem are trying to paint the picture that there is little to no opposition to the concept of dam removal. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Whitsett. “Citizens in Klamath Countyare deeply opposed to the idea.”

The poll, conducted by Target Market Strategies by telephone May 6 – 13, surveyed 300 residents and is statistically accurate to plus or minus 5.7 percent. Among the specific poll results:
• 65 percent are opposed to dam removal
• 68 percent are opposed to public purchase of reservation land for the Tribes
• 73 percent are opposed to the closed and confidential negotiations involved in developing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Agreement in Principle
• 58 percent are unwilling to paying higher electric rates as the result of the shift to renewable energy or dam removal
• 83 percent are very or somewhat concerned that these agreements will provide the Tribes with too much control over Klamath Basin water

The random selection of residents included Democrats, Independents, Republicans and all others registered to vote.

The Legislative delegation from Klamath County continues to receive large volumes of emails, letters and calls regarding both the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Agreement in Principle (AIP) to remove the four PacifiCorp owned hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The preponderance of the correspondence from Klamath County received by our offices has been in opposition.

During the same period, legislative committees have heard testimony from the Governor’s Office, PacifiCorp, Sustainable Northwest, the Klamath Water Users Association and others that little if any opposition exists to these two agreements. They suggest that the passage of SB 76-A will begin the process of healing and will initiate “peace on the river.”

“It is clear that despite claims that the passage of this bill will bring so-called ‘peace on the river,’ citizens in the community don’t find Senate Bill 76-A peaceful at all,” said Whitsett.
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              Page Updated: Wednesday May 18, 2011 01:56 AM  Pacific

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