On Feb. 8, the Oregon Water Resources Department, OWRD, issued a post card to our farm/ranch lifting water restriction in areas of the Upper Klamath Basin.

The irony of this notice is so obvious. The rivers are at flood stage or very near it, and OWRD finally lifts the Tribal Call on the water.

As the notice indicates, “This applies to all uses on the listed water right, including stock water, and domestic.” This includes surface water, (rivers, creeks and springs), and ground water (wells). Most all of the rights list irrigation as a listed use.

I guess this means that those affected are now allowed to also irrigate their crops.

In other words, irrigators, go forward, start your pumps and irrigate your crops, that is, if you can find them under all the flood water. Timing is everything.

This is further evidence of how one sided and damaging the Klamath Adjudication currently is.

The local court still has the final say whether the state’s “administrative law judge” was correct in setting such high, required instream flows. (The administrative law judge is not in fact a “real” judge.)

Even more recently, a judge ordered the Bureau of Reclamation to “flush” additional amounts of water out of Klamath Lake and down the Klamath River to help coho salmon. This was being implemented as some downstream roads were already under water. At the last minute, this amount of extra water was reduced, only because of phone calls from downstream residents and representatives from Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office.

This example is just another case that defies all logic. A single judge and our federal government send extra water down the Klamath River for fish in the middle of a flood event. You would certainly think a flood event would contain enough water for any fish needs, including flush or pulse flows.

It is absolutely necessary that logic and true science drive the decisions critical to the survival of our local economies.

Tom Mallams

Beatty, Ore.

Keep up the good work, Capital Press

Thanks for printing Barry Flinchbaugh’s piece (Trump a Mixed Bag for Ag) as a response to Rebecca Lampman’s letter (Readers’ Views, Feb 17).

I agree with both about labor, trade impacting ag and share concerns that the new administration’s policies may not align with agriculture’s needs. During the campaign the administration was very clear about what it wished to accomplish. So it is ironic that agriculture, which voted strongly for this administration, is having second thoughts.

In the Feb 17 issue of the Capital Press, I learned that the U.S. Department of Labor estimates 70 percent of agricultural laborers in the U.S. are illegal. Wow! Ag could be seriously hurt by immigration policy! But that statistic, 70 percent, speaks to what the Capital Press provides to the agricultural community, namely knowledge.

So keep up the good work bringing the agricultural news to us. It is our job, the reader’s job, to extract what we find meaningful. We need that knowledge, unbiased facts, to make informed decisions.

So keep it coming, guys. And thank you!

David Duncan

Mount Angel, Ore.

Anti-GMO commentary reveals double standard

The guest commentary by Patricia Michl (“Studies cast doubt on GMO food” 2/10/2017) exposes the double standard that activists continue to use in arguments against good science and research.

Michl states, “… that GMO research results from any university accepting bio-corporate money are suspect. Corporations with a stake in biotechnology pour copious amounts of money into university programs.”

What the author fails to realize is that without corporate grants for research, many universities would not sustain their research programs, even to the benefit of activist causes, which many universities openly support.

And, conversely, the author’s statement also implies that any money for research that comes from any anti-GMO activist organization is untainted.

This is at best a double standard, and many in farming and ranching would argue the same point about activist organization research dollars being suspect in a similar manner.

Michl spews the same rhetoric that all activists against GMOs spew, in that only their research is valuable and should be treated as gospel.

Norm Groot

Executive Director

Monterey Farm Bureau

Salinas Calif.

Searching for consistency

The juxtaposition of your two “Our View” opinions in the Feb. 17 edition left me somewhat confused.

In the article “Food System Works Just Fine, Thank You,” you make the very clear and important point that the Washington State Food System Roundtable is comprised of 28 members and none are farmers, yet they set future food system policy. And at the cost of $259,000!

In this case, you propose to NOT trust in the state Legislature, but allow the “real food system” (farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors and retailers) to continue to do what they have done for generations. This position being well-reasoned, in my opinion.

Yet in the “Our View” opinion “Pre-emption of Local GMO Regulations Must Remain,” quite the opposite approach is taken.

Here is a case where Oregon lawmakers passed legislation in 2013 yet have not acted in four years to create a mediation procedure and authorize the Oregon Department of Agriculture to implement the program.

This does not bolster one’s faith in the Legislature’s ability to create law and policy that is timely, effective and superior to local counties handling their own local ordinances.

At the end of the day, you have decided to side with the legislators that certain questions that affect the lives of county residents are simply too contentious or complex for them to make an informed, unbiased decision and therefore those citizens ought to concede that the lawmakers in the Capitol are better able to sift through all the lobbying dollars, the emotional arguments, the bad science and fear mongering and can best look out for “everyone’s” interests.

It didn’t seem that was your approach in the Food System Roundtable editorial.

I remain optimistic that local folks can think and act for themselves.

As local governments give up autonomy and authority it sets a template for state and federal overreach in areas such as management of federal lands from D.C. instead of formulating policy together with local ranchers, loggers, and miners.

It can open the avenue for greater federal land grabs such as Owyhee Canyonland Monument or Cascade-Siskiyou expansion. It can lead to federal dollars being used to portray local farmers as polluters with no heart for the environment or federal agency overreach of the Clean Water Act.

Democracy doesn’t guarantee that you get your way, it is supposed to guarantee that powerful minorities don’t ride roughshod over the majority.

Brian Quigley

Camano Island, Wash.

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