Monday, June 24, 2013

Congress weighs in again on Klamath water crisis, but isn't likely to act

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's hearing Thursday on the Klamath Basin water crisis has sparked hope among supporters that landmark deals reached three years to unite many of the basin's combatants will finally get through Congress. But prospects for the Klamath Basin deals to win approval still look slim. That's despite a drought emergency, and the likely cutoff of water to hundreds of cattle ranches and hay farms this summer. Both deals were approved in 2010, after five years of work, triggering celebrations in Salem. "There is no need for this conflict to rage on," then Gov. Ted Kulongoski said at the time. One agreement requires removal of four PacifiCorp dams along the Klamath River. A separate restoration deal calls for an extra $500 million toward environmental restoration, and for water-sharing between irrigators and tribes seeking more water for fish. But given political realities, Wyden views the restoration agreement as a take-off point for negotiations, not a done deal, said Tom Towslee, spokesman for the Oregon Democrat. The restoration agreement "as written is unaffordable given the current federal budget environment," Towslee said. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, introduced a bill last year to implement the deals. It never got a committee hearing...more

Gotta love that headline.  They'll "weigh in" but "do nothing".  Pretty typical, and this time blaming the current budget environment.

Wyden and Merkley should offer an alternative that costs nothing.  Either legislatively remove the two species of sucker fish from the endangered list, or exempt the Klamath River from the provisions of the ESA during times of drought.

That's what Congress would do if they really wanted to help the ag producers.

1 comment:

Tick said...

When have they ever wanted to help the ag producers? The only thing they want to help is their pocket linings and their power lust.