News from the Front #60:
Christmas Speech: The Scribes and the Pharisees of Oregon
Dear Mr. Buchal;
As the Interim Chairman of the California State Grange Water Committee and Vice President of the Greenhorn Grange in Yreka I must agree with the bulk of your message but I need to bring to your attention the reference to the Grange. "And who is fighting the evil" This appears to be the only area where your information is not up to date. As point of fact the following actions have been taken by the Granges regarding these salmon issues:
1. In 1999 a coalition of the California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho State Granges with a private property rights group, Interactive Citizens United, fought against the definition of Essential Fish Habitat being determined by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and won a decisive victory. The final definition of EFH is "water and substrate only". This definition has greater importance as Congress defines EFH as equal to or greater than "critical habitat" as designated under the Endangered Species Act. This can be a legal basis for removing "critical habitat" designations under the ESA that exceed water and substrate only.
2. In 1999 the Greenhorn Grange in Yreka filed a Notice of Intent to Sue National Marine Fisheries Service and the Department of Commerce for an illegal, arbitrary and capricious listing of the Coho Salmon in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
3. In 1999 formal delisting petitions for Coho Salmon and Spotted Owls were forwarded to the USFWS and NMFS by ICU and the Greenhorn Grange.
4. In May of 2001 Grangers from Northern California and Southern Oregon supported the "Bucket Brigade held in Klamath Falls. A National Grange representative was present and gave the first speech at the assembly and threw in the last bucket of water into the canal.
5. In May of 2001 the California State Grange Water Committee presented a paper at the Klamath Basin Symposium held at Humboldt University demanding non-partisan review of all data related to listings under the ESA and it became the number one item to come out of the Symposium and sent on to Washington, DC.
6. In October 2001 the California and Oregon State Granges filed formal delisting petitions with USFWS, NMFS and Gail Norton for both Coho Salmon and Suckers in the Klamath River. These petitions have been accepted as meeting the requirements for formal review by the appropriate agencies.
7. In October 2001 the California State Grange presented a paper at the Ninth Annual EPA Hoopa Conference in San Francisco again calling for non-partisan review of all listing science.
8. In November of 2001 the California State Grange and the Greenhorn Grange filed a formal rebuttal to the proposed listing of Coho under the California ESA with a threat to sue.
9. In November of 2001 the California and Oregon State Granges in conjunction with the National Grange, Greenhorn Grange and the Jackson County Pomona Grange filed a lawsuit against NMFS for the removal of all Coho listings under the ESA as capricious and arbitrary. This lawsuit is being handled by Pacific Legal Foundation.
10. In the near future a coalition of the California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and National Granges are planning to file a lawsuit against all salmon listings in the Northwest. It would be inaccurate to state that the Granges are asleep or holding square dances in light of the above information. I would hope that in the future any references made regarding the Granges will reflect the activities that we have engaged in and will continue to pursue this battle to the point at which the waters will freely flow once again to the Klamath Basin Agriculturists. The Grange has other actions planned and it might be beneficial to both of our organizations to work in concert on these issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your Christmas Speech;