Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Secret Klamath Water Negotiations set to resume

KlamBlog has it from a reliable source that Klamath water settlement negotiations are starting up again with the Interior Department's John Bezdek inviting "settlement parties" to an "exploratory" meeting in Medford on July 7th. Bezdek says the meeting is covered by prior "confidentiality agreements".

Since we are now talking about a public river (the Klamath) and not privately held dams, all those who have a stake in the Klamath River should questions why negotiations over the fate of our River should be entirely confidential. Why not have "public witnesses" present who don't talk but record the proceedings for posterity? At minimum, those who are sponsoring and driving this settlement, the US Interior Department, ought to issue substantive public reports to citizens each time a negotiation session takes place and when major proposals are laid on the table.

The fate of the Klamath River and a lot more is riding on negotiations set to begin July 7th
in Medford Oregon. For example, could this recovering riverfront land near 
Happy Camp become part of a Karuk Reservation via such a deal?

People of the Klamath, let's demand that they - Interior - do it the right way this time. I hope someone at that Medford meeting questions the need for strict "confidentiality" in these negotiations on behalf of the people.

It would be great to have an adequate and therefore durable settlement of the waters; a settlement that also protected the integrity of fish and wildlife laws we have seen abused since the KBRA Water Deal was signed. That sort of agreement will be more likely if a more open process is followed where river and all communities are informed and somewhat involved. In particular, those individuals and organizations who have invested their time in restoration and protection of our river should, by right of their sweat, have a voice in deciding the fate of the River. Ideally, our tribes and our Fish & Wildlife Departments in Oregon and California will involve both communities and our community organizations.

At minimum, this time I hope the People of the Klamath will demand that River leaders come back to the communities for consultation when key settlement proposals are on the table and for a thorough vetting once we have a proposed settlement to discuss.

What say you?

(KlamBlog is written by me, Felice Pace: unofelice@gmail.com)


Donna Converse said...

"Confuse the enemy Lord.......we gave us the land for 10,000 years as our land forever...." Amen......

Greywolf said...

Where is this secret meeting being held so our people can be there and let people know how we feel about this?

Felice Pace said...

If I knew the location you would know it too. I have learned that the feds are meeting with each tribal government individually. That is likely in order to continue to divide and conquer and also to avoid violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

I'll publish more as I learn it. However, those who are members of any of the four federal tribes invited to meetings should demand that their leaders tell the members what was discussed and what positions they have taken on behalf of their members.

When tribal rights are on the line, the positions of tribal governments that are themselves creations of the settler colonial conquerers should be developed with the full participation of the tribal membership. Just as tribal governments demand "consultation" BEFORE federal decisions that affect the tribes are made, so too the members of federal tribes ought to be consulted BEFORE and DURING negotiations, not after deals are negotiated and drafted.

KlamBlog will be watching to see how not only the feds but also tribal government representatives behave in this round of negotiations, But there can be no substitute for the People of the Klamath River themselves demanding that these negotiations be open. The fate of our River is not a private matter to be negotiated in secret. It is also not just a tribal government matter.

The feds are asked consult with the tribal governments, tribal governments should consult with their members. The People of the Klamath River should demand that the federal government come clean about its intentions for our River and its water. SECRETARY JEWELL: WHAT IS THE FEDERAL AGENDA?