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Klamath Tribes Historic Vote Passes Overwhelmingly


January 20, 2010 -- Chiloquin, OR—The Klamath Tribes reported today that in a tribal referendum vote the tribal electorate overwhelmingly supported the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.
“This is good news not only for the Tribes but for the Basin community.  It is a step toward ending decades of strife, and moving toward a sustainable future for us all,” said Klamath Chairman Joe Kirk.  “The Tribes’ commitment to resolving these issues has steered our participation in negotiating the KBRA.  We believed we had the encouragement of our people, and now it is gratifying to have such a clear vote of support,” he said.
The KBRA and KHSA are ambitious agreements among dozens of groups to resolve outstanding water, power, and other resource issues throughout the Klamath Basin.  Tribes, farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, and fishermen, as well as state and federal governments, have spent over four years negotiating the Agreements.
The intent of the Agreements is to stabilize the situation in the Basin where uncertainty has for many years undermined livelihoods and relationships.  The Agreements provide for restoration of salmon to the Upper Basin, control of agricultural power costs, removal of four dams on the Klamath River, and using the Endangered Species Act to protect both fish and farming, among other things.
“Our electorate has made a wise decision.  We can get on with the work of restoring an important part of what the Tribes have lost, while working with our agricultural neighbors and the lower river tribes in the Klamath Basin to protect their communities and ways of life, too,” said Jeff Mitchell, lead negotiator for the Klamath Tribes.
Mitchell noted that the KBRA will allow the Tribes to reacquire the Mazama Forest in the northwest corner of the former Reservation.  “This is a significant economic development opportunity for us and throughout the county,” he said.  In addition to the opportunities that are offered with Mazama Forest, the Tribes recently acquired the former Crater Lake Mill site to develop Southern Oregon’s first “Green Energy Park.”  This park will enable the Tribes to take full advantage of the raw forest products from Mazama and also to develop a new site to produce forest products and open up new markets.  “We look forward to providing new jobs and business opportunities to the Klamath Tribes, tribal members, and non-members in the Klamath Basin. By being active forest managers we will improve forest and watershed health which is precisely what the KBRA was intended to do,” he concluded.
Other parties to the KBRA and KHSA are now in deliberations about whether to sign on to the Agreements.  Decisions by all participants are to be made by early February.
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This is truly an historic and mo dic wytas  (very good day) for the Klamath Tribes of Oregon.

Ms. Taylor R. David
Klamath Tribes Public Info./News Dept. Mngr.
P.O. Box 436 , Chiloquin, OR 97624
800-524-9787 or (541) 783-2219 ext. 147
email: taylor.david@klamathtribes.com  website: www.klamathtribes.org
?iyyamni dic'ii waytas pac'it - Have a nice day today.