Klamath Basin water issues focus of Secretary of the Interior visit

Klamath Falls, Ore. – A member of President Trump’s Cabinet was in Klamath County Thursday, focusing on water issues.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt arrived in Klamath Falls Wednesday.

“As we drove down the hill yesterday, I see this beautiful mountain, and all this water.”  Bernhardt recalled.  “My first thought is, what do you mean, they have a water problem?”

A recent rally to support farmers sparked Congressman Greg Walden to invite the Secretary to the Klamath Basin.

“Farmers aren’t getting enough water, the Tribes are upset about the fish runs, and rightfully so, we need more fish.”  Summarized Walden.  “It’s not working.  So it’s time to review the science, it’s time for a reset.”

Bernhardt held closed door meetings with Reclamation officials, with Tribal leaders at the Klamath County Government Center, and with local farmers at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

Bernhardt says he’ll be working on options to take to the President.  “I believe that we have to come out, understand the situation, go back, think about it, and come back and say, ‘here’s what we can do, and here’s what we can’t do’.  And some of the ‘can’t do’, people might not like.”

The Secretary was joined by Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman.

“When you listen to the Secretary, we need to find a way within the law, to make this situation work.”  Noted Burman.

The visit was the first time an Interior Secretary and Reclamation Commissioner had been in the basin together.

California Congressman Doug LaMalfa was also in attendance.


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