From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Wallowa Water Grab Meetings Start Thursday

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Wallowa Water Grab Meetings Start Thursday

The Vote on S 1355RS could occur in the next few days.

S 1355RS must be stopped in the Senate.  It could force an unworkable solution that could damage the Wallowa Valley forever.

Plan to come to the Public meeting Thursday Night and the Rally Saturday.

-----1.    Please plan to attend the public information meeting about the Wallowa land and water grab and the government takeover.  The meeting is set for Thursday night June 24th at 7:30 PM at the VFW Hall, 800 N. River St., Enterprise, Oregon. The featured speaker will be Chuck Cushman, Executive Director of the American Land Rights Association.   He’ll talk about tools and tactics you can use to fight extreme plans such as the Wallowa Basin takeover.  Most of the information will be easily transferable to other areas as well. 

-----2.  Set aside Saturday, June 26th to participate in a March and Rally for local control. This will be great fun and you’ll have a good time.  People will gather at the foot of Wallowa Lake (northern tip) after 8:00 AM.  The March starts at 9:00 AM and will go through the towns of Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine and Wallowa.  There will be a FREE snack lunch,  FREE buses to take you from place to place and at the end there will be a FREE barbeque.  For more information about the Rally, call (541) 432-0757 or visit www.stopthewatergrab.org

The four key issues in this battle are:

-----A.  Install automated headgates on all irrigation diversions throughout the Wallowa Valley, thereby locking up valley water under outsiders’ control;

-----B.  Disrupt the valley ecosystem with interdrainage water transfers and pipelines, thereby lowering water tables and affecting wells and lowlands.

-----C.  Facilitate the (re) introduction of endangered species of salmon, with all of the additional water control and restrictions that will cause; and

-----D.  Create a hidden, unaccountable group of water management planners with a blank check, who will be free to impose a water management system of their choosing upon the entire valley.

The Wallowa Basin is trying to head off a takeover of its water such as occurred in the Klamath Basin.   Some people are so afraid of the Endangered Species Act and the scare mongering about imminent failure of the dam (not true) that they are rushing to judgment on a plan that will take their water and land rights.

A major issue is the condition of the Wallowa Lake Dam.  It has been slowly deteriorating and has not been properly maintained.  It is clear that the dam must be rehabilitated.   It is a private dam.  The owners only seem interested in getting Federal money to bail them out.  Our view is if the Feds and the local tribe get their hooks into it, it will become a slippery slope of regulation, water and land use controls.

The dam must be fixed.  Everyone should support that.  Nobody we know thinks the dam should not be fixed.  The key is to fix it with private funds thereby avoiding the future loss of water and land rights.  

A private foundation has offered two loans to the Associated Ditch Co.s (ADC)  to fix the dam.  That offer has been declined.  They want free Federal money.

Some people are supporting a giant Water Management Plan in partnership with the Nez Perce Tribe and the Federal government that we believe endangers the future of local control in the Valley.  It will likely reintroduce endangered salmon into the lake and river and bring with it an enormous loss of local control.  It appears to be the long term goal of the Nez Perce to eventually take back the valley.

You can make a difference in the coming Senate vote.  This is important to you no matter where you live.  What is happening in the Wallow Valley is really a road map for how certain groups are seeking land and water grabs all over the country.

You can help:  

-----1.  Call both your Senators at (202) 224-3121 immediately to urge them to hold up S 1355 RS for further review, called the Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation and Water Management Act.  Also send them a fax and an 
e-mail.  Ask them not to rush to judgment on this land and water grab. 

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) – Phone:  (202) 224- 3753 -- FAX (202) 228-3997 --  
E-mail:  http://gsmith.senate.gov/webform.htm.
Sen.  Ron Wyden (D-OR) – Phone:  (202) 224-5244 – FAX (202) 228-2717 – 
E-mail: http://wyden.senate.gov/mail.htm

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) – (202) 224-2621 – FAX: (202) 224-0238 – E-mail: senator_murray@murray.senate.gov     There is an underscore between Senator and Murray.  Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) – Phone:  (202 224-3441 – FAX: (202) 228-0514 – E-mail:  http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/index.html

Sen. Michael Crapo (R-(ID) – Phone: (202) 224- 224-6142 – NO FAX – E-mail: http://crapo.senate.gov/
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) – Phone:  (202) 224-2752 – FAX (202) 228-1067 – E-mail:  http://craig.senate.gov/webform.html

-----2.  Go to http://www.stopthewatergrab.org to download your own petition to send or e-mail back.    You can download a formatted Testimony Questionnaire by going to http://www.landrights.org

-----3.  Call at least three other people to tell them about the threat and ask them to come to the Rally.

The Wallowa Lake Dam and Water Management Project has no details.   It is all being supported on faith.  If S 1355RS passes, it will impose a solution that at this time has no plan.   The Plan is likely to be written behind closed doors without real public involvement.  The Valley has no way to know what they are going to get.

There is a lot of fear mongering about the dam and it appears likely that has clouded the dangers of the proposed solutions.

Many people supported the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Plan (ICEBMP) until they saw the details.  American Land Rights led the successful region wide campaign in seven states to stop the plan.  Elements of it still exist.  

Those that had supported it began to realize that bringing the government in and giving agency bureaucrats and outsiders far greater power would vastly increase regulation while reducing grazing, mining, forestry and many recreation uses in most of Eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  Comforting promises camouflaged the eventual devil in the details.  When people finally saw the plan, it was a nightmare. 

There is no written plan for the Wallowa basin.  Blind faith did not work on the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Plan and it won’t work in the Wallowa Valley.

The Wallow Valley Agriculture Water Users Association represents the position of most of the landowners and farmers who own 75% of the irrigated land  in the Wallowa Valley.  They oppose this Federal takeover of the entire river basin, using dam rehabilitation as the tool. 

Local funds have been offered to repair the dam.  But the Associated Ditch Co.s (ADC) has rejected all loan offers and instead has aligned itself with various governmental and water and land grab groups who prefer  using watersheds, the Endangered Species Act and promotion of fish priorities to gain control of water and the land.  Most valley residents are being left out.

The Water Users Association and others in the community have affiliated with the American Land Rights Association in an attempt to get their voice heard.   We believe it is in the interest of all land and water users that this project not go forward as it is now proposed.  There is no question that the Wallowa Lake Dam must be fixed.  ALRA supports fixing the dam. 

For more information on this issue go to http://www.stopthewatergrab.org

Please plan to come to the rally and mail in your petition.   You can go to www.landrights.org to download a Testimony Questionnaire on the issue.

Also, please forward this message to your entire list.  Time is urgent.

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