From the October 2001 Idaho Observer:
Congress not likely to authorize aid for Klamath Basin farmers
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Oregon senators Ron Wyden (D) and Gordon Smith (R) have sent a letter to their congressional colleagues asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture be budgeted an additional $110 million. The agency needs the additional funds to help farmers recoup at least half of the losses they recorded this year when the federal government arbitrarily decided to turn Klamath Basin into a dustbowl.
Neither Wyden or Smith took a real stand in defense of the regions some 1,500 farmers last August when 4,000 people came from all over the country to protest federal land use policy that threatens to bankrupt a community to protect what it thinks may be two species of endangered suckerfish. Smith and Wyden's hearts are not in the aid package they have proposed and both congressmen agree that there is little hope Congress will help the region recover from the economic devastation its Bureau of Reclamation caused in the Klamath Basin.
Senators Wyden and Smith cite congressional preoccupation with funding the war against terrorism as the most obvious reason why it will not be concerned about K-Basin farmers at this time.
Interestingly, President George Bush, Jr., announced in the first week of October that he intends to provide $millions in benefits to minor children who lost both parents in the WTC tragedy.
The controversy in K-Basin began last April 7 when the Bureau of Reclamation made good its surprise announcement of April 6 to shut off irrigation water to some 400,000 acres in southern Oregon and northern California. Allegedly to protect the habitat of the Lost River sucker and the short-nosed sucker, the agency caused an estimated 430 other native animal species and migratory water fowl, some of them on the endangered list, to either leave the area in search of water or die. (See the August and September editions of The IO for extensive coverage of this treasonous betrayal of American interests).
Now that summer is over and federal land use policy caused over $200 million to evaporate from the K-Basin economy, there is nothing left to debate until the water becomes an issue next April.
Editor's comment: It can be viewed positively - Congress refusing to give money to K-Basin farmers. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that if one dollar of federal money is used, the federal government becomes the controlling authority over that land or issue. Besides, as a matter of principle, who gave Congress the right to enforce policies that devastate people's lives and then make the taxpayer pay for it?
What warms our hearts is that thousands of people have rallied in support of their countrymen. It has been with the support of fellow Americans, not the federal government, that a handful of men have resolved that the water will flow next spring -- no matter what.
There are several ways that you can help the farmers of the Klamath Basin. The best way is to hop up on the Internet and visit the site at: www.klamathbasincrisis.org and see what you can do. (DWH)
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