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State Sen. Whitsett says ‘sue them’

Senator believes DEQ won’t change unless taken to court
 by Jill Aho, Herald and News 6/9/10
State Sen. Doug Whitsett said he has struggled with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for years about pollution allocations in Klamath County, specifically Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath and Lost rivers.

   Whitsett questions the   science behind the Upper Klamath Lake Total Maximum Daily Load, on   which the TMDL for the Klamath River is based.

   But, he said, D E Q officials won’t revisit the Upper K la math Lake TMDL decision, and the senator now believes the agency cannot be convinced of its mistakes without going to court.

   “ The only way that you’re going to make a difference with DEQ is to sue them,” Whitsett said. “I think that something   could be done jointly between the city, South Suburban (Sanitary District) and the irrigators in the area.”

   Not the first time

   D E Q Water Quality Manager Eric Nigg said it wouldn’t be the first time TMDL regulations had been challenged in court. DEQ has settled cases in the past.

   “People have certainly asked for reconsideration. We have been sued,” Nigg said. “But so far, my experience has been we’ve always been able to work through that.”

   Whitsett said the DEQ’s phosphorus pollution limits for the Tualatin River were successfully challenged in court.

   Gail Whitsett, Whitsett’s wife, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Oregon State University.

   She submitted comments disputing the science behind the Klamath and Lost rivers pollution limits because they are based on the Upper Klamath Lake targets.  

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