Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Omaha Theatrics!

As this is being written Klamath River residents are arriving in Omaha. It would be a safe bet that they are heading for the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway - the company controlled by Warren Buffet which owns the Klamath River's mainstem dams. It remains to be seen whether they will appear with Mr. Buffet or - as in the past - on the outside looking in.

Meanwhile, the conservation group International Rivers, a leading socially responsible investment firm and an international labor rights organization are also crashing Mr. Buffet's party. Backed by a shareholder petition, the trio want Berkshire Hathaway to prepare annual sustainability reports telling shareholders about social and environmental conditions and risks at the investment company's world-wide holdings. We've given you the link to each of the groups' PR on the petition; it's interesting to read how each frames the issues.

In a press release International Rivers executive director, Patrick McCully, referred to the Klamath River Dams. Here's what he said:

"Klamath River dams now operated by Berkshire Hathaway’s PacifiCorp subsidiary have been linked to toxic water conditions that produced the largest single salmon die-off in U.S. history. Now PacifiCorp has promised to pay up to $200 million for the dams’ removal, because government studies show this would be cheaper than making the dams compliant with environmental laws. When your company has dams that are so harmful that it's cheaper to dismantle them than get them re-licensed, shouldn’t shareholders know that?”

Meanwhile Fox Business News is reporting that tickets to the Berkshire-Hathaway Shareholders Meeting are selling cheap on e-bay. They were going for up to $250 but the company flooded the market. Was Mr. Buffet just upset with seeing the tickets sold on e-bay or is he hoping lots of people and press will show up in Omaha? The latter would be consistent with announcing a dam removal deal and adopting the sustainability report proposal.

KlamBlog could not confirm a river rumor that Siskiyou County Supervisors Cook and Armstrong had obtained tickets on e-bay and were en route to Omaha!

The meeting date is May 2nd - Sunday.

Stay tuned!

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