Lack of Congressional Support Kills Landmark Klamath River Deal

There might not be a drawing board to go back to after an agreement that would have removed four dams along the Klamath River died in Congress.

Read Time: 1 minute

January 13, 2016, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bettina Boxhall reports on the fall out following the demise of an agreement that would have settled a decades-long debate on the Klamath River in California. "The complicated pact, backed by the states of California and Oregon, called for the removal of four hydroelectric dams, settled water rights disputes and spelled out water allocations for irrigators and wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin," according to Boxhall. But the agreement expired "when Congress failed to approve it by Dec. 31."

The deal managed a rare and difficult to duplicate local negotiation, but failed to gain support from Republicans in Congress. According to Boxhall, the conflict "embodies classic struggles over western water":

Tribes, farmers, hydropower interests and commercial fishermen all have fought over the 255-mile river, which winds from southern Oregon through Northern California to the Pacific Ocean. Dams, farm and ranch diversions and agricultural runoff have exacted a heavy toll on a waterway that once supported Chinook salmon runs half a million strong.

The article includes a lot of detail of the complicated politics of the agreement, as well as any future prospects for a revived agreement. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 in Los Angeles Times

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