SALMON LIVING ON BORROWED TIME
Salmon need water not politics
For Immediate Release, August 13, 2015
Klamath Basin, Oregon – Salmon and the largest dam removal project are still being held hostage as a bargaining tool to get legislation passed for Senate Bill 133. Over 50 tribes have advocated against S. 133 the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015 also known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). In an effort to support tribal rights and sovereignty tribes have wrote letters advocating against the KBRA. Senator Murkowski of Alaska wrote a letter in reply. Murkowski assured tribes she understands the concerns of tribal sovereignty as it relates to S. 133. Murkowski’s letter also ensures tribes that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be fully consulted if S. 133 was to advance that far.
Senator Murkowski chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Senate committee and is also a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Murkowski’s support comes at time critical to Klamath River Salmon.
The Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015 (S. 133) is sponsored by Senator Wyden of Oregon. The bill uses language that would open the door for the United States government to abandon the federal trust responsibility to tribes. Once federal trust obligations no longer exist the federal government has no responsibility to uphold tribes’ inherent rights.
S. 133 was slated to be discussed before the ENR Committee on July 28, 2015 but was never brought up for discussion. The proposed $970.452 million cost of the Klamath Agreements has raised eyebrows in Congress. There has been no agreement on how to scale back KBRA costs and still give all parties their bargained for benefits. Not one dollar of the KBRA price tag goes for dam removal; most of money goes to taxpayer subsidies for irrigation operations.
The KBRA continues to delay dam removal and drought conditions continue to threaten salmon populations. Water that salmon desperately need to survive is being held back by dams and diverted to thousands of acres of irrigated farm lands in the Klamath Basin.
Despite questionable claims, faulty science, and an ongoing federal investigation S.133 still has supporters. Opponents agree some of the claims appear promising but in the end are not favorable to tribes and will be detrimental to the tribal way of life. Defending a bill that that provides the public-to-private transfer of wealth and disregards the impediments to environmental restoration makes little sense. It is past time to revise the Klamath Agreements and address problems in a sequential, fair, cost-effective manner.
Honor The Treaty of 1864 is a group of like minded individuals who want to honor our ancestors and our 7th generation by protecting our resources and our rights.
Willa Powless 307-757-7970
Posted on August 17, 2015, in Fisheries and tagged Honor The Treaty of 1864, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015, Klamath River, salmon. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.