Water: the New Gold Rush Essay

1442 Words Oct 27th, 2012 6 Pages
Kirstie Hagmann
Professor Holper
English 1A
28 Sept. 2012
Water: The New Gold Rush Humboldt County, CA, is one of the last great frontiers on the West Coast. Framed by ancient redwoods, Humboldt boasts a wealth of rivers, forests, beaches and mountains. On the surface, it sounds like nature’s paradise. Dig a little deeper though, and you can still see the same elements of cruelty and greed that have characterized this area since the first settlers arrived, hoping to find gold, harvest lumber, or trap fish and game. In the present day, ruthless opportunists still lurk in the shadows of this rich and fertile land. Some are locals, seeking to line their pockets. Some are politicians, looking for support and voting advantages. All of
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Apparently, it was worth killing 68,000 salmon in one season in order to appease the Upper Klamath farmers. These farmers draw from the 2 irrigation dams on the Upper Klamath. Why did the Bush administration, namely Dick Cheney, have such an interest in the Klamath River? Siskiyouland claims that the administration did not care about the fish or the farmers. “They cared about the 2002 re-election campaign of their Republican ally Senator Gordon Smith. Farmers were a key component of Smith’s constituency. In 2002, the farmers got their water and Smith was re-elected by a narrow margin.” (106) By 2011, two agreements have been presented for congressional and Federal approval: the Klamath Basin Restoration agreement, and the Klamath Hydro agreement. The restoration agreement calls for removal of the lower four dams that generate hydro-electric power and the hydro agreement, which regulates water rights to the river. “Under this settlement, farmers are guaranteed water but the fish are not. There is no flow guarantee for fish in the KBR agreement.” (Siskiyouland 108) Siskiyouland further claims that Paul Simmons, a Sacramento attorney for the Klamath Water Users Association, made sure that “his clients would get their water before anyone in the room got anything.” (108). Simmons also works for the law firm Somach, Simmons and Dunn

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