Local Governments & Tribes Speak Out
Since Klamath Tribes v United States Bureau of Reclamation, et al was filed, local governments and Native American Tribes downriver has spoken out against this lawsuit. Below, you will find their amicus briefs (friend of the court) and see their concerns about the Klamath Tribes’ lawsuit and the effect of higher levels in Upper Klamath Lake on their communities.
The following “friend of the court” briefs have been filed in support of United States Bureau of Reclamation, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service as well as defendant interveners Klamath Water Users Association and Ben DuVal.
In this friend of the court brief, Klamath, Modoc and Siskiyou Counties along with the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma support the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (Fish & Wildlife) and the National Marine Fisheries Service along defendant interveners Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) and Ben DuVal, citing improper venue, economic harm to the counties and the Modoc Tribe and the irreparable harm to cwa’am uncertain.
In this friend of the court brief filed by Siskiyou County Agriculture Commissioner James E Smith, he discusses the $84 million of Siskiyou County’s agricultural value being harmed. Not only will the 64,000 acres irrigated by Tulelake Irrigation District (TID) affected, he also estimates 1,200 jobs being directly impacted by non-irrigation of TID.
In this friend of the court brief, Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris notes the total direct, indirect and induced agricultural value of Klamath County as over $500 million annually getting harmed by this lawsuit. She also cites the loss of property tax revenues from irrigable land, which produced $3.5 million for the county.
Modoc County Agriculture Commmissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Gary Fensler discusses the damage done to the value of irrigable lands in Modoc County. He indicates 34,505 acres of Klamath Project ground be affected, with those acres accounting for 17.3% of Modoc County’s total land value and 27.5% of Modoc County’s personal property value. He also shares that irrigable land in Modoc County is valued at approximately $5,000 and acre, while non-irrigable ground is valued at $2,500 an acre.
Richard Valdez, certified fisheries biologist and senior scientist with SWCA Environmental Consultants discusses the scientific and biological aspects of the case in his friend of the court brief filed on behalf of the Counties and Modoc Tribe. In his opinion, he says there’s no empirical scientific evidence to support the Klamath Tribes’ position and that increased levels in Upper Klamath Lake will not improve sucker recruitment. He references two blue-ribbon science panels established by the National Research Council to back his opinion.
Amicus Brief Filed by Blake Follis (50-07032018)
Enrolled member and Attorney General of the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Blake Follis shares the Modoc Tribe owns 800 acres of ground that will be affected by this lawsuit. He also discusses the Modoc Tribe’s history as well as goal to preserve their Tribe’s ancestral lands and treaty rights. He also believes that increased lake levels and retention in Upper Klamath Lake will ensure no water is made available to the Modoc Tribe and its neighbors, including Klamath Project irrigators.