Walden unveils bill to aid Klamath Project power costs

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The bill is called the ‘Klamath Infrastructure Improvement Act’.

The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Representative Greg Walden.  “This is an important piece of legislation that is aimed at providing affordable power for farmers in the Klamath Basin.”

An agreement that gave farmers access to cheap hydroelectric power ended more than a decade ago.

“Our water users, since 2006 at the end of an agreement, the power rates have just skyrocketed since.”  Notes Scott White, Executive Director of the Klamath Water Users Association.  “And in some cases, it’s over 2000%.”

Congressman Walden elaborated on the bill:   “This legislation directs the Department of the Interior to conduct a study to identify a path forward to achieving lower power rates.”

Completion of that study would start a 180 day clock to implement the plan.

Walden says the bill is aimed at helping to resolve ongoing water conflicts in the Klamath Basin.  “What this can do is maximize what we have, as we work on these other bigger issues that are a little more complex.”

Many Klamath Project farms were started by veterans returning home from war.

Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd noted it was appropriate the bill was introduced just prior to Veterans Day.  “These homesteaders united, and began to build schools, churches, and even a hospital in Klamath Falls.  They literally built our community.”

Other highlights of Congressman Walden’s visit to Klamath County included a town hall meeting at Lost River High School, and lunch with local veterans.

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