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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Senator Doug Whitsett
R- Klamath Falls, District 28

Phone: 503-986-1728    900 Court St. NE, S-302, Salem Oregon 97301
Email: sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us     Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett
E-Newsletter                             May 14, 2009 

           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. In fact, the level of opposition to Senate Bill 76-A in our correspondence has been remarkable.

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.”

Representatives Garrard and Gilman, and myself have commissioned and paid for a professional poll to scientifically determine the nature of the opinions of Klamath County citizens on these matters. We asked Target Market Strategies to poll Klamath County registered voters regarding specific features of the agreements and of SB 76-A. The objectives were to measure public support for removal of the Klamath River Dams and associated issues including determination of attitudes toward the Klamath Tribes relative to the KBRA. The professional polling company developed the questions and polled 300 randomly selected individuals registered to vote in Klamath County. The random selection included Democrats, Independents, Republicans and all others registered to vote. The poll was conducted by telephone during May 6-13, 2009. The poll is determined to be statistically accurate at plus or minus 5.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

The results of the poll clearly confirm the extent of the opposition that seemed apparent in our correspondence from Klamath County residents.  The format for the poll, the questions asked, and all the answers given are attached in a document for your review. Some specifics results indicate that:

  • 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 KBRA and the AIP
  • 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

If you have any question, opinions, or concerns after reviewing the results from this survey please contact our office. In addition, SB 76-A is currently in the House committee on Environment and Water. If you would like to voice your opinion on the progress of this bill, I would encourage you to contact the members of that committee. Contact information for each member as well as committee staff is included below. If you decide to contact the members of the committee by email, it is helpful to carbon copy committee staff members to ensure that your opinions are noted.

House Committee on Environment and Water


Ben Cannon, Chair

Vic Gilliam, Vice-Chair

Jefferson Smith, Vice-Chair

Jules Bailey

Phil Barnhart

Cliff Bentz

Deborah Boone

Bob Jenson


Beth Patrino

Sue Hampton

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              Page Updated: Thursday May 14, 2009 08:14 PM  Pacific

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