Oppose Senate Energy Bill Sec. 9301 for Klamath Basin Wildlife

We need your help to urge Senators Wyden and Merkley to drop their support of Section 9301 of the Energy and Natural Resources Act. This section as written would deliver costly and counterproductive subsidies to Klamath River Basin irrigators, including the authorization of additional funding for irrigator groups found to have “wasted” of $32.2 million in taxpayer funds to the detriment of the environment. These funds were intended to provide water to aid struggling Klamath Basin fish and wildlife populations, but instead benefitted irrigators as salmon in the Klamath River and waterfowl suffered catastrophic losses due to lack of water. In light of this flagrant abuse of taxpayer funds, Congress should not allow this bill rider to move forward.

Photo by Scott Carpenter

The Klamath Basin national wildlife refuges provide a vital link for millions of birds that migrate along the Pacific Flyway, connecting northern breeding grounds and southern wintering areas. Today, as much as 80 percent of waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway rest and refuel here during migration. However, in recent years, refuge wetlands have been allowed to go bone dry, even as water has continued to be delivered to refuge land leased for commercial agriculture. We need your help to stop years of abuse and misuse of water in the Klamath Basin!

Take Action

Let Oregon’s senators know that they should be supporting water conservation in the Klamath, not more special interest subsidies that prop up excessive, uneconomical water use at the expense of taxpayers and fish and wildlife.

Talking points for comments to Senators Wyden and Merkley: 

  • Please drop support for Section 9301 of the Energy and Natural Resources Act as it would provide a multi-million subsidy to the irrigator-controlled Klamath Project and offer no water for wildlife.
  • As written the bill lacks oversight and accountability and not include language of any requirement for involvement in these programs by tribes, fishermen, conservation groups or agencies tasked with restoring fish and wildlife
  • Because of the current scandal and misuse of over $32 million in taxpayer spending by Klamath Water and Power Agency and denial by the Bureau of Reclamation in any wrongdoing, I am very concerned about directing more funding toward a similar program that does not have adequate oversight.
  • The Klamath Refuges contain some of the most important migratory stopover habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife in the western United States. Please protect this irreplaceable natural resource and drop support of this bill.

Thank you for taking a stand for the Klamath Basin refuges!