[env-trinity] Objections to Klamath deal omitted
t.schlosser at msaj.com
Sat Nov 29 10:44:40 PST 2014
Objections to Klamath deal omitted?
WaterWatch of Oregon, others want objections included in formal record
By Andrew Clevenger
<http://www.bendbulletin.com/NewsroomStaffList/?person=53> / The
Bulletin / @andclev <http://www.twitter.com/andclev>
Published Nov 27, 2014 at 12:03AM
WASHINGTON — Several Oregon groups that oppose the Klamath Basin deal
pending in Congress are concerned their objections weren’t considered
when members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
approved the legislation earlier this month.
WaterWatch of Oregon, the Hoopa Valley Tribe and Oregon Wild were not
invited to testify at a June 3 committee meeting, so the groups
submitted written testimony for inclusion in the written record of the
hearing, Jim McCarthy, a spokesman for WaterWatch of Oregon, told The
Bulletin this week. Their submissions were not included in the written
record, and the committee voted to approve the bill earlier this month.
“We’re just concerned, and we want to find out, if the committee was
able to consider all of the submitted testimony before they passed the
bill on to the full Senate,” he said. “If they didn’t, that’s a real
problem and a real mistake by the committee.”
McCarthy said he has been unable to get any answers from members of the
Requests by The Bulletin for comment from the offices of the Energy and
Natural Resources Committee and from Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana
Democrat who chairs the panel, went unanswered.
Federal legislation is needed to codify the Upper Klamath Basin
Comprehensive Agreement, an effort to develop a water-sharing plan for
competing claims on limited water, including those of the Klamath
Tribes, irrigators and ranchers and environmentalists, who want to see
more water dedicated to fish and wildlife. The deal was signed in April,
just more than a year after the Oregon Water Resources Department
adjudicated the issue following 38 years of litigation.
Under the principle of first in time, first in right, the Klamath Tribes
were awarded top claim on much of Upper Klamath Lake and portions of its
tributaries. But should high-priority rights holders exercise a “call”
on their water claim during particularly dry years, ranchers and
irrigators worry they wouldn’t have enough water for their livestock and
While most of the participants in the Klamath Basin Task Force, formed
by Gov. John Kitzhaber, signed off on the deal, WaterWatch, which
participated in the task force, did not agree to support the deal,
McCarthy said. While the deal promotes water sharing by some groups, it
also over-promises on the water available, making massive fish die-offs
like the one that occurred in 2002 likely in drought years, he said.
Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore., are co-sponsors of the
bill formalizing the Klamath deal. As a member of the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee, Wyden was vocal in urging his colleagues to support
the bill when it was voted out of committee earlier this month.
Wyden spokesman Keith Chu said Wednesday he didn’t know why the written
testimony from WaterWatch and others hadn’t been included in the written
record of the June hearing and referred the matter to the committee.
Wyden is well-aware of the groups’ concerns, Chu said, noting that a
representative of WaterWatch participated in a hearing on the matter in
“Senator Wyden’s staff talked to the conservationists who had a
different point of view a number of times, so it’s not as though their
view wasn’t heard,” Chu said. “He respects their view, of course, but
ultimately the judgment was to move forward due to the wide support in
Wyden does support having the testimony in the record, and his staff is
following up with committee staff to see how to make that happen, Chu said.
If the Klamath legislation is not passed before a new Congress is sworn
in in January, it must be re-introduced and go through the committee
process again because pending legislation expires at the end of each
Sent from my iPhone
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