Rep. Huffman Statement on Klamath River Basin

December 03, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), who represents the North Coast of California, released the following statement today:

“I represent a critical part of the Klamath Basin, where the river’s water quality and the health of its fisheries are more than just policy issues; they’re the lifeblood of people and communities. Removing the Klamath dams and restoring the river and its fisheries to good health is, for my constituents, a critical need, which is why many of them helped lead the effort to craft the 2010 Klamath agreements. That’s why I’ve been urging action on the type of federal legislation called for under the agreement since I came to Congress almost three years ago. 

“Toward that end, I’ve been pleased to work with and support Senators Merkley and Wyden as they made bipartisan progress in the Senate. Unfortunately, there has been no similar effort on the House side of the Capitol, where the majority party includes several members who are ideologically opposed to dam removal and the Klamath settlement.

“I was hopeful that the discussion draft circulated by Congressman Greg Walden today would track the bipartisan work led by Senators Merkley and Wyden that brought us to this point, and honor the historic compromise reflected in the Klamath settlement so that we could get to work on finally passing Klamath legislation and restoring the river.

“Unfortunately, Congressman Walden’s draft conspicuously leaves out the dam removal that’s vital to river restoration—the centerpiece of the whole agreement for my constituents in California—and adds poison pills in the form of massive giveaways of public lands that were never part of the settlement.

“This fundamentally flawed discussion draft, circulated just four weeks before the settlement expires, is a discouraging sign for those of us who urgently want to make progress on Klamath River restoration.

“Nevertheless, I remain committed to rolling up my sleeves and working in good faith with Congressman Walden, Senators Merkley and Wyden, and others in hopes of forging a reasonable and responsible Klamath compromise that can be signed into law before the end of the year. Despite three frustrating years of opposition, ambivalence, and inaction in the House of Representatives, I’m not giving up. But like many Klamath stakeholders, my patience is wearing thin. Whether through congressional action honoring the Klamath settlement, or through other legal means, the Klamath dams will come out and the tribes and other downstream interests I represent along the Klamath River will see the fisheries restored.”

Huffman represents California's second congressional district in the House, and serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Water, Power, and Oceans subcommittee.