Merkley Endorses Klamath Basin Agreements

Portland, OR– Today Senator Merkley announced his support for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric  Settlement Agreement and applauded the stakeholders in the basin for their years of collaborative work as he voiced his commitment to work with the regional delegation to enact the federal enabling legislation.

“These agreements are great news for Oregon, for the farmers and ranchers in the Basin, and for the Klamath Tribe and our fishing communities, and I want to congratulate all of the stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to create a vision for a brighter future for the Klamath Basin,” said Merkley “This is more than a resolution of one water dispute, it is a strategy for improving the economic and environmental future of an entire region.”

The two agreements represent major collaborations for all water users in the region to improve the current management of the Basin’s water supply.  The agreements will provide benefits to the farmers and ranchers, the Klamath Tribe, and fishermen up and down the West coast while improving the environment and strengthening native fish species.  They were the result of a multi-year collaborative process where stakeholders were able to set aside differences from the past to create a new water-use system allowing all parties involved to benefit. This included addressing issues ranging from dam removal, water allocation, and electric rates to the environmental restoration of an entire region, while taking into account the livelihoods of farming families throughout the region who rely on water for irrigation and fishing families who rely on water for fish migration. In the final agreement, many of the concerns raised by constituencies who oppose the agreement were addressed.

“The development of these agreements provide a blueprint for how policy should be created,” Merkley said. “Former foes became active partners, and their incredible collaboration has produced better outcomes for each stakeholder than they could achieve under the status quo.  Washington needs to take a serious look at how we get things done here in Oregon.”

Senator Merkley has continually advocated for a collaborative solution to the natural resources issues in Oregon and has traveled throughout the basin, listening to stakeholders on all sides.  The Senator pledged to champion the agreements in Congress and fight to see the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement implemented.