Sunday, July 08, 2007


Cheney's role in Klamath fish kill revealed by Bend daily paper

Today's Bend Bulletin carries the Washington Post story about Dick Cheney's involvement in the Klamath River Fish Kill Off. I'm glad to see it there; I hope the Klamath Falls paper carries it, too. The story reports how Cheney put the arm on the National Academy of Science to announce that the diversion of Klamath River water to the (mostly Republican) farmers in the Basin would have no negative effect on the fish population in the river.

Of course it did: tens and tens of thousands of salmon died subsequently. All the hotshot Republicans lined up next to farmers, militia members, and self-described "patriots" to send the water into the fields of hay and sugar beets. Hay and sugar beets, yes. Lots of water, low profits. But the water, like the farm land itself, is subsidized; if it wasn't for taxpayer money, nobody would be farming that land—it would still be a lake.

And nowhere in the article, or in the politics of irrigation water, is there any mention of the Indian people downstream, traditionally and treaty-guaranteed to Klamath River salmon. By extention, their treaties guarantee there will be enough river water to allow salmon and steelhead to make their necessary upstream migrations. But Indians are not agri-business, nor are they among the usual big -time party donors. The Klamath River tribes do not have wealthy casinos. If they did, maybe things would be different. Maybe.

No matter how many Indian casinos there are, and no matter how much money they donate to Republicans, they are still outnumbered by the farm lobbists and out -donated by agri-business. Besides, they don't have the right skin color to be considered equal to traditional Republicans.

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