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Over 70 Years of Representing the Farmers and Ranchers of Klamath Project

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6:22 am, Jun 15, 2024
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Legislation Pending

May 16, 2024

Protective Legislation is now pending in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

On April 11, 2024, Representative Cliff Bentz introduced H.R. 7938, the “Klamath Water Agreements Support Act,” in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill is very similar to legislation that has been introduced by Senator Wyden, on behalf of himself and Senator Merkley, in the U.S. Senate. The Senate bill, S. 484, the “Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement Support Act, was introduced by the Oregon Senators in February of 2023.

In a press release, Representative Bentz stated, “This bill builds upon the promises made by parties to the agreement entered into regarding dam removal and species restoration, all intended to shield farmers from the adverse effects of dam removal. The legislation also ensures that the Department of the Interior remains accountable, preventing the transfer of river infrastructure unrelated to irrigation costs onto hardworking farmers.”

“There is much to be done to get any legislation enacted, but we are on the field of play,” stated KWUA Executive Director Paul Simmons. “No one can promise everything, but we have a great Congressional delegation on our side and will continue to work with that bipartisan leadership.”

Both the Senate and House bills include protections to avoid or minimize the negative effects of dam removal on Klamath Project irrigators. Specifically, if enacted, the legislation would prevent irrigation water users from bearing financial burdens for infrastructure not being removed that Reclamation will be taking over from PacifiCorp. It would also assist in avoiding new regulatory burdens that could result from salmonids occupying currently unoccupied.

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Written by KWUA Staff for Basin Ag News, May 2024

Cover photo caption: In April, Representative Cliff Bentz introduced H.R. 7938, the “Klamath Water Agreements Support Act,” in the U.S. House of Representatives. In this photo, he speaks to irrigators in Klamath Falls, Oregon, before the bill’s introduction. (Image: KWUA)

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