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There is no quit in the Klamath

Posted by Mike Gerel on January 23, 2015

Efforts continue from Oregon to D.C. to implement the Klamath agreements.

Klamath-sunset_US-Capitol-collage_600
Everyone — from Klamath to D.C. — knows the consequences of status quo when water is short.

Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, a second attempt to enact the suite of three Klamath agreements now in place to restore the Klamath River Basin regrettably did not pass in the final days of the last Congress that adjourned on January 3, 2015. This result was not for lack of trying. Oregon and California’s Senate delegation, local stakeholders, and Washington, D.C. strategists put forward the most sophisticated and coordinated legislative advocacy effort in the history of the Klamath conflict.

Fortunately, these results did not dampen resolve. The very same Klamath bill that passed Senate committee last year was immediately re-introduced as Senate Bill S.133  in the new Congress on January 8th. Further, key House members have signaled a new willingness to consider a funding package based on growing local support, including recent endorsements from the City of Klamath Falls and the local Klamath Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, and Cattleman’s Association. A recent OPB piece does an excellent job laying out the enduring local support for the Klamath agreements and the key role that Oregon Congressman Greg Walden will play this year.

Sustainable Northwest remains optimistic that Congress will pass a bill that helps the Klamath in 2015. Another drought is expected, and everyone — from Klamath to D.C. — knows the consequences of status quo when water is short. However, to help advance the ecological and economic health in the basin, while legislative advocacy churns on, we are also working with national experts to explore creative ways to achieve the objectives of the Klamath agreements without the need for new federal legislation. And as always, we will continue to support local leaders on the front lines who refuse to surrender in their fight to close the book on water conflict in this community.

Photo credits: Michael McCullough (left);  DVIDSHUB (right)