From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Wallowa Water Grab Senate Vote Wednesday

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 Senate Vote Wednesday

*****Call Senators Smith and Wyden Today!!

Unfortunately, Senator Gordon Smith is rushing the Wallowa Lake Dam bill (S 231) through the Senate in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to steamroll voters in Oregon.  

He has set the bill up for a quickie vote Wednesday Morning at 11:30 AM Eastern Time.  You can make sure this does not happen.

You can stop the vote.  Just ask Senator Smith and Senator Ron Wyden for a new hearing.  They will do it if enough people call and ask.   S 231 has not had a hearing in the New Congress.  Tell them there is lots of new information and many more people involved who are opposed.  

S 231 must be stopped in the Senate.  It could force an unworkable solution that could damage the Wallowa Valley forever.

S 231 is called the Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation and Water Management Act.

See Action Items below.

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.

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.

For more information about the the Wallowa Dam controversy, call (541) 432-0757 or visit www.stopthewatergrab.org

Action Items:

You can help:  (Deluge the Senate Committee with calls)

Deadline for Action – 11:30 Am Wednesday, February 9th.

-----1.  Call or fax Senators Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden.  They are on the Energy Committee.  Remember, any senator may be reached at (202) 224-3121.

-----2.  Call the other Senators on the list.  Do the Republicans first.  They are most likely to help.  It will only take one or two requests for a delay and a new hearing to be successful.

-----3.  Call at least three other people to urge them to call.

Here is a new list of the new Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
We’ll get you the new e-mails as soon as they are published. 

Committee members and main phone numbers -- all numbers start with 202-224 or 228
Pete Domenici (R-NM)  (Chairman) (202)  224-6621--(fax) (202) 228-0900

Larry Craig (R-ID)  (202) 224-2752 -- (fax) (202) 228-1067

Craig Thomas (R-WY)  (202) 224-6441 -- (fax) (202) 224-1724

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)  (202) 224-4944 – (fax) (202) 228-3398

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) (202) 224-6665 -- (fax) (202) 224-5301

Richard Burr (R-NC) (202) 224-3154 -- (fax) (202) 228-1374

Mel Martinez (R-FL) (202) 224-3041 – (fax) (202) 228-5607

Jim Talent (R-MO) (202) 224-6154  -- (fax) (202) 228-1518

Conrad Burns R-Mt  (202) 224-2644 -- (fax) (202) 224-8594

George Allen (R-VA) (202) 224-4024 -- (fax) (202) 224-5432

Gordon Smith (R-OR) (202) 224-3753 -- (fax) (202) 228-3997

Jim Bunning (R-KY) (202) 224-4343 -- (fax) (202) 228-1373
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) (202) 224-5521 --  (fax) (202) 224-2852

Daniel Akaka (D-HI) (202) 224-6361 -- (fax) (202) 224-2126

Byron Dorgan (D-ND) (202) 224-2551 -- (fax) (202) 224-1193

Ron Wyden (D-OR) (202) 224-5244 --(fax) (202) 228-2717

Tim Johnson (D-SD) (202) 224-5842 -- (fax) (202) 228-5765

Mary Landrieu (D-LA) (202) 224-5824 -- (fax) (202) 224-9735

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (202) 224-3841 -- (fax) (202) 228-4741

Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (202) 224-3441 -- (fax) (202) 228-0284

Jon Corzine (D-NJ) (202) 224-4744 -- (fax) (202) 228-2197

Ken Salazar (D-CO) (202) 224-5852 -- (fax) (202) 228-4609

Additional Background:

The Wallowa Lake Dam and Water Management Project has no details.   It is all being supported on faith.  If S 231 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. 

Urgent Action is required 

Please forward this message as widely as you can.  

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