As I wrote in the story, both sides are eager to use current events to bolster their cause. And when it comes to environmentalists and supporters of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, their camp includes newspapers -- nine of them of various sizes which are listed as official supporters on the KBRA Equals Jobs website, right alongside tribes, government agencies, conservation organizations and commercial fishing interests. As the website explains, these organizations and others who sign on to the "outreach efforts" are sent "news, upcoming events, and opportunities to join the effort." (Hat tip: Pie N Politics)
Now while I am neutral as to whether the four dams on the Klamath River should be taken out, I admit I like at least the concept of the KBRA. Look, I remember covering Klamath farmer Steve Kandra back in 2001, and he was on the front lines of the water wars. If somebody like him can be persuaded to come to agreement about solutions in the Klamath Basin, there's a good chance that at least some of the ideas might have merit.
And my editors agree. They opined on Feb. 12, 2010:
It's refreshing to know the federal government is moving rapidly to answer big questions about removing dams from the Klamath River. It would have been a shame, given the three years of tough negotiations that went into last month's final version of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath River Hydroelectric Settlement, if the feds had set it aside until Congress took up the key legislation needed for implementation. [...]However, I'm not aware of the Capital Press being included on anyone's list of "partners" in an "outreach effort" -- not that I'm really criticizing the ones that are. It's just that partisans will try to equate this bird die-off with what they see as farmers' hogging the water supply, just as the AP and other news organizations now routinely blame the salmon die-off in 2002 on farms even though the cause was very much a matter of debate. It's the season we're in, and news consumers should tailor their reactions and their opinions accordingly.
We applaud this good faith effort by the Obama administration to go forward with the studies, and follow later with the implementing legislation if dam removal is found to be a sound decision.