The proposed KBRA does have one provision which would apply to Del Norte County and would require approval by the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors. Here’s that provision from page 169 of a very long document:
- “ Del Norte County agrees not to file a claim in federal or state court, or before theCalifornia Board of Control or any other administrative agency, against the State of California, the State of Oregon, any state agency, department, division or subdivision thereof, or the United States, arising from any decrease in property tax revenue or alleged business or economic losses, including property values, due to Facilities Removal.”
It had been suggested to at least one Del Norte supervisors that they also hear from those who do not support the Deals including Del Norte County based Friends of Del Norte. However, only the Yurok Tribe is listed on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.
The item is identified on the agenda as a “workshop” which indicates that board action on the Yurok’s presentation will not be taken at the meeting.
In spite of the fact that they have jurisdiction on the lower portion of the Klamath, the Del Norte Supervisors were not included in negotiations which – over the course of over two years – expanded from the fate of Klamath River dams to include water management, restoration funding and a long list of subsidies. In the course of those two years two groups were kicked out of the confidential negotiations and other entities – including the Hoopa Tribe and the Northcoast Environmental Center - have said they can not support the resulting deals.
Now that the deals are final, the focus of Klamath politics shifts to the Obama Administration and to Members of Congress. Will the Obama White House support a process that originated with the Bush Administration, would sacrifice the Klamath refuges and which some say totally ignores the recommendations of the only independent scientists to evaluate what is needed to restore Klamath salmon? Will members of the California and Oregon Congressional Delegations carry legislation essentially written by PacifiCorp and other promoters of the deals or will these members fix some of the problems opponents of the deals say threaten world-class Klamath Wildlife Refuges and preclude the recovery of Klamath Salmon?
No one as yet knows the answer to these questions. While North Coast California Congressman Mike Thompson recently declared that he hopes to introduce Klamath River legislation in January with an unnamed Oregon congressman it is unknown whether he will simply take the deals promoters have produced and turn them into federal legislation or whether he will listen to constituents who want him to fix what they say are errors and environmentally-damaging provisions in the deals.
The Public Review Draft of the KBRA released on Friday is 369 pages long and will take some time to review. However KlamBlog has taken a look to see if the claims of promoters that the legislation would not seek to amend or compromise the nation’s bedrock environmental laws are born out in the language of the agreements. Here is the applicable language from Appendix A of the KBRA:
- Provide that nothing in the KBRA title of the legislation shall: determine existing water rights, affect existing water rights beyond what is stated in the KBRA, create any private cause of action, expand the jurisdiction of state courts to review federal agency actions or determine federal rights, provide any benefit to a federal official or member of Congress, amend or affect application or implementation of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Federal Land Management Policy Act, Kuchel Act (Public Law 88-567), National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-57), or supersede otherwise applicable federal law, except as expressly provided in the federal legislation. (emphasis added)