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<i>" ...the Bush administration is favoring farmers, ranchers, and developers over the rights of endangered species, Indian tribes, and the federal government itself."</i><br><br><br><br>
Thousands of dead salmon, acres of dying crops, pesticide-poisoned birds: How the Klamath River became the first casualty in the West's new water wars.<br><br><br><br>
By Bruce Barcott<br><br><br><br><br><br>
On the morning of September 19, 2002, the Yurok fishermen who set their gill nets near the mouth of the Klamath River arrived to find the largest salmon run in years fully under way. The fish had returned from the ocean to the Klamath, on the Northern California coast, to begin their long trip upstream to spawn; there were thousands of them, as far as the eye could see. And they were dying. Full-grown 30-pounders lay beached on shore-line rocks. Smaller fish floated in midriver eddies. Day after day they kept washing up; by the third day, biologists were estimating that 33,000 fish had been killed in one of the largest salmon die-offs in U.S. history.<br><br><br><br>
The Yurok knew immediately what had happened. For months they, along with state experts and commercial fishermen, had been pleading with the federal government to stop diverting most of the river's water into the potato and alfalfa fields of Oregon's upper Klamath Basin. But the Bureau of Reclamation, the agency in charge of federal irrigation projects, refused to intervene. No one had proved, it argued, that the fish really needed the water.<br><br><br><br>
When the die-off was discovered, federal authorities raced to send a flush of water downriver. But they didn't change their long-term policy -- using the Klamath's water to support farmers over fish, fishermen, and some of the most environmentally critical wildlands in the nation.<br><br><br><br>
For the Bush administration, and for the advocacy groups that have joined the battle, the fight over the Klamath is more than a regional dispute. It's a bellwether signaling a key shift in the federal government's stance in a new generation of Western water wars. From Montana to New Mexico, conflicts over rivers, wetlands, and irrigation projects are pitting federal water rights against local and state governments and private interests. And in each case, the Bush administration is favoring farmers, ranchers, and developers over the rights of endangered species, Indian tribes, and the federal government itself. In the past year alone, administration officials have backed away from water policies designed to protect fish and birds along the Rio Grande and in California's Central Valley, given up their claim to protect thousands of acres of wetlands from being filled in for subdivisions and shopping malls, and moved toward ceding federal rights to water in several national parks and wildlife refuges.<br><br><br><br>
"The administration sees water rights as property rights that come before other rights, including the right of ecosystems to exist," says Steve Malloch, executive director of the Western Water Alliance, a regional environmental advocacy group. "When faced with the choice between [environmental protection] and what they perceive to be inviolable property rights, they've made it clear what side they're going to come down on."<br><br><br><br>
Nowhere have these issues played out more dramatically than on the 250-mile course the Klamath takes from Oregon's arid high country to the redwood forests of California's northern coast. When the federal government was forced by the courts in 2001 to withhold irrigation water and keep the Klamath flowing, national property-rights groups rallied to support struggling farmers. A year later, when the administration took water from the fish and gave it to farmers, the salmon kill made the river a cause célèbre for environmental groups. At least four separate lawsuits, with plaintiffs ranging from fishermen to property-rights advocates to environmentalists, are challenging government policies on the river. And a National Marine Fisheries Service biologist has filed for whistleblower protection, arguing that, under pressure from "a very high level," his agency changed a key scientific report to justify withholding water from the fish.<br><br><br><br>
Source: Mother Jones publication, June issue 2003
 

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"The administration sees water rights as property rights that come before other rights, including the right of ecosystems to exist," says Steve Malloch, executive director of the Western Water Alliance, a regional environmental advocacy group. "When faced with the choice between [environmental protection] and what they perceive to be inviolable property rights, they've made it clear what side they're going to come down on."<br><br><br><br>
This kind of thing makes me wanna puke !
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No, water that he could have demanded the Israelis NOT cut off to dehydrated and malnourished Palestinian children; the water flow he put on the backburner in Iraq in favor of securing that necessity of life, oil.
 

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The arrogance of mankind to think anything of nature can be "owned" will be our own downfall. Mark my words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
*Words marked.*<br><br><br><br>
I wish I had a dime for everything I've predicted that W would (will) do that came true. I'd be rich!<br><br>
And the sad part is, it's not even difficult to do -- he's so predictable.
 
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