Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Implementing the Klamath Agreements - a new KlamBlog series

~ Implementing the KBRA ~
~ A series of reports from KlamBlog ~ Researched and written by Felice Pace ~

~ Series Introduction ~

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA or Water Deal) and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA or Dam Deal) are done. Those who were going to sign have signed and those who were not going to sign have not signed. In the Klamath River Basin there has been a rearrangement of the “sides” in what has always been a zero sum water game with winners and losers.

Two streams now diverge. On the one hand promoters are pursuing federal legislation; on the other hand they are moving aggressively to implement those portions of the Deals which do not require legislation.

The Deals' promoters want federal legislation to provide liability protection and other benefits to PacifiCorp during dam removal, to bless the KBRA's scheme for managing water and restoration, and to provide taxpayer funding for irrigator and other subsidies. Prospects for federal legislation are almost always uncertain - especially when it includes costly and controversial Deals which require new spending in an era of record deficits.  Congress may decide to duck the controversy and the cost and leave it to the Obama Administration to implement the Deals it negotiated within existing authorities and budgets. Whatever it does, however, Congress is unlike to act before the Secretarial Determination (the decision on dam removal) is final.

The legislative dance will play out far from the Klamath River Basin and only a few Basin residents will play a part in it. Meanwhile the Federal Family – the federal agencies which supported, funded and participated in the deal-making – have quickly begun implementing many aspects of the Deals which do not require Congressional action.

This series will track, report on and analyze implementation of the KBRA, the Water Deal. It will not focus on the Dam Deal because that will get plenty of attention elsewhere. The Secretarial Determination and related EIS/EIR are well advertised and reported. KBRA implementation, on the other hand, has not been publicized and is not being reported.