Saturday, October 10, 2009

NEC still at the table

NEC still at the table - Jay Wright/NEC Klamath Campaign Coordinator Letter to The Editor in response to Uri Driscoll

In his My Word of October 6, “Environmentalist Wake Up Call,” Uri Driscoll suggested that the Northcoast Environmental Center is “not in the Klamath River talks.” That's just not true. In fact, the NEC remains very much engaged in ongoing discussions and negotiations over the future of the Klamath, in both formal and informal arenas. The NEC has raised objections to some serious problems in the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement -- the water deal that would give Upper Basin irrigators first rights to Klamath River water, as well as cementing in place unsustainable farming on key wildlife refuges for the next 50 years. We're not alone in raising those concerns, which have been reported in a number of newspapers, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Last week, as the NEC's new Klamath campaign coordinator, I attended the Klamath Plenary Group meeting in Portland, Oregon. As reported by Uri's brother John Driscoll Oct. 30 in the Times-Standard, the purpose of the meeting was to finalize and release for public review the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which calls for all four mainstem Klamath dams to be removed beginning in 2020. The NEC remains troubled by the continued linkage between the Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and the KBRA. Like our fellow KBRA skeptics at the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the NEC voted to release the final Hydro Agreement for public review. Neither the NEC nor the Hoopa have definitively rejected the proposed Klamath deal at this point.
We are keeping our options open and will continue to work with our partners in the Klamath Basin to ensure our Board of Directors hear all sides of the debate and make a principled assessment before our ultimate decision whether or not to support the Klamath negotiated settlement agreements.

Jay Wright
NEC Klamath Campaign Coordinator

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