FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Klamath settlement talks long on promises, short on results
Background on the unfulfilled promises of the Klamath settlement talks. This backgrounder examines the public statements made by the participants in the talks and the lack of progress made.Portland, Ore Nov 13, 2007
Earlier this year, the Bush administration and Klamath agribusiness interests abandoned the Pacificorp-initiated settlement talks over the future of the Klamath River dams, starting their own process and excluding Oregon conservation organizations. Those talks have now been going on for several months, without producing any information that is available for public evaluation and scrutiny. Pacificorp is not a participant in these Bush-administration sponsored talks.
The settlement talks are convening again this week, and once again backers are touting imminent breakthroughs. Reporters and the general public should evaluate these claims with a skeptical eye, particularly given the history of similar claims over the last several years (see attached press backgrounder).
A breakthrough in the settlement talks that truly addresses the environmental problems of the Klamath Basin would be a welcome event. To be successful, such a settlement must include a specific plan and timeline, agreed to by Pacificorp, for the removal of the lower four Klamath River dams. It should also include a voluntary program to buy back water rights from Klamath irrigation interests and retire them, so that more of this precious resource can be used to support salmon and wildlife. Finally, a settlement must include a large-scale wetlands restoration program, starting with ending commercial agricultural development on Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Attached is a background document that tracks the history of these settlement talks, and the promises that the Bush administration and others have been made about them. If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Jim McCarthy at (503) 283-8396, or email email@example.com.