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)