Oregon Senator Says Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement Too Expensive For Congress

Jun 21, 2013

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden
Credit U.S. Senate

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden had bad news Thursday for farmers, fishermen, and tribes who signed on to a water rights settlement in the Klamath Basin in 2010. The senator told the groups their plan for resolving the water crisis is too expensive.

The Klamath tribes hold senior water rights to the headwaters of the Klamath river. In the settlement, called they KBRA, the tribes agreed provide a steady supply of water to farmers in exchange for big investments in habitat restoration and fisheries management.

But the deal has to be signed by congress. And it would require $800 million of federal spending over about 15 years. Wyden said that’s just too much.

“After considerable thought, I have concluded that the KBRA is simply unaffordable in the current budget environment," Wyden said.

Wyden told the groups the river restoration deal would be more politically feasible if they could the budget by a third.

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