Wilderness Society continues its attack (on Klamath farmers) -- the H&N view

(Note: So, what else is new? Truth and facts are of no importance to Gang Green and their agenda.)

January 15, 2003

The "H&N view" represents the opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, which consists of Publisher John Walker, Editor Tim Fought, City Editor Todd Kepple and Opinion Editor Pat Bushey.

Herald and News

P.O. Box 788

Klamath Falls, OR 97601-0320

541-885-4410

Fax: 541-883-4007

http://www.heraldandnews.com 

To submit a Letter to the Editor: heraldandnews@heraldandnews.com  (only letters originating from within the print circulation area of the H&N will be published)

The Wilderness Society attacked Klamath Basin agriculture earlier this month. In doing so, it issued misleading figures, ignored history and used numbers in a way that a layman would find hard to understand.

The layman is the target. That's where the votes and the strength of political sentiment is, and it can be manipulated. Well-heeled zealots know that.

Farmers are at a disadvantage. They have to do battle at times and on terms chosen by their opponents.

The Wilderness Society said in a study that a big portion of the emergency drought funds for 2001 -- the year the Klamath Reclamation Project was shut down so more water could be used for fish -- went to farmers who lease lands on the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake national wildlife refuges located side by side along the Oregon-California state line.

Removal of the agricultural presence on the refuges has long been a goal of The Wilderness Society, which has pursued its efforts in the courts. Thus the society's connecting of the refuge lease lands with emergency drought payments should be seen as another way to harass the farmers -- a tactic. Next month, it'll be something else.

Farming on the refuge was specifically authorized in the 1964 Kuchel Act, which acknowledged existing practices and specifically said that land on the refuges "shall be administered by the Secretary of the Interior for the major purpose of waterfowl management, but with full consideration to optimum agricultural use that is consistent therewith..."

The framers of that piece of legislation didn't have "zero" in mind when it came to how much acreage should be farmed. In fact, the act went on to talk about lease terms and agricultural practices.

About 22,000 acres of the nearly 93,000 acres on the two refuges are available to farmers.

So some farmers listed by The Wilderness Society as getting emergency drought payments also have lease lands. So what? What's the connection?

It should be noted also that some of those listed as having lease lands didn't farm them in 2001, and that we're not talking about huge farming conglomerates. Even if the sums of money involved look big, these are still family farming operations run and owned by people who live in the Basin. Many of them, or their parents, were specifically invited by the government to farm in the Basin. In those days, growing food and building towns looked like good things. They still do.

The "H&N view" represents the opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, which consists of Publisher John Walker, Editor Tim Fought, City Editor Todd Kepple and Opinion Editor Pat Bushey.

http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2003/01/16/viewpoints/editorials/view.txt

For more information on this issue:

By Dan Keppen

Executive Director, Klamath Water Users Association

2455 Patterson Street, Suite #3

Klamath Falls, OR 97603

541-883-6100

Fax: 541-883-8893

dkeppen@internetcds.com

Also: http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org