Walden releases draft legislation to help solve long-running water problems
in Klamath Basin, asks for input from all parties
Bill would provide water and power certainty for agriculture, boost economic development for rural communities and tribes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After nearly a year of discussions with a broad range of parties in the Klamath Basin and key leaders in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden today unveiled a draft of a bill that would help solve long-running water issues in the Basin.
“Throughout the year, I’ve worked closely with a broad range of stakeholders in the Klamath Basin as well as my colleagues in Congress to draft a viable plan that would help the Basin and the people who live there. This draft proposal would help provide water and power certainty for agriculture and boost economic development and job creation for rural communities and tribes through a transfer of federal timber lands. I encourage all parties to review the proposal and let me know your feedback,” Walden said.
Summary of Walden’s draft Klamath legislation
Water certainty for agriculture: The draft authorizes and implements the water agreements in both the Upper Klamath Basin and the Klamath Project, providing for a long-term and certain water supply for farmers and ranchers.
Power certainty for agriculture: The draft directs the federal Bureau of Reclamation to provide affordable power for farmers, ranchers, and communities in the Basin.
Transfer of federal forest lands to Klamath and Siskiyou counties: The draft transfers 100,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land each to Klamath and Siskiyou counties. The lands would be used for timber production to grow jobs in rural communities and improve forest health.
Transfer of federal lands and economic development funds to Klamath Tribes in exchange for waiving senior water rights: Under the draft, the Klamath Tribes would waive their senior water rights claims. In exchange, the Tribes would receive 100,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land for timber production along with economic development funds for tribal members.
No federal dam removal: The draft does not authorize, fund, or expedite federal dam removal. That process is left up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It also does not create federal liability from dam removal.