Klamath Falls and Basin News- New Regulations on Wells

The latest Klamath Falls News around the Klamath Basin from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Klamath Basin Weather

Partly cloudy with a high near 53, overnight low of 33 degrees.

Partly sunny, with a high near 54.

Sunny, with a high near 63.

Sunny and 71 degrees. Low of 37.

Today’s Headlines in Klamath Falls…

Klamath Falls News – Kenneth DeCrans filed to run on Friday for Klamath County Commissioner, Position 1 in the May 2020 primary election. DeCrans challenges Kassandra Harding who filed on Sept. 13.

Incumbent commissioner Donnie Boyd has yet to file for reelection. DeCrans serves on the Klamath Community College Board of Education through June 30th, 2023. He received his Associate’s degree from KCC in mechanical engineering and currently works at Columbia River CADD a structure and architectural drafting service in Klamath Falls.

In other races running for the sheriff’s post is incumbent Chris Kaber, and a corporal with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Daren Krag. Derrick DeGroot is aiming for reelection to his county commissioner seat and has no challengers yet. No one has filed yet for county surveyor, the only other local government position open for the May 2020 primary. The last day for candidates to file for the primary election through the county clerk’s office is March 10, 2020.

Klamath Falls News – The Oregon Court of Appeals has announced it won’t resolve a dispute over the impact of Klamath basin wells on surface waters due to newly imposed regulations in the area.

The appellate court has dismissed the case because it’s moot and unworthy of review after the Oregon water regulators adopted different rules governing surface water interference from wells in the Upper Klamath basin earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed by several irrigators in the region whose wells were shut down in 2015 and 2016 by the Oregon Water Resources Department, which determined that groundwater pumping was reducing flows in the Sprague River to the detriment of senior water rights holders.

Sarah Liljefelt, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the dismissal is disappointing because the agency’s repeated rule changes have effectively denied the irrigators a ruling on the merits of their case. Richard Deitchman, an attorney for irrigation districts with senior water rights who sided with the agency in the dispute, said his clients consider the dismissal a “win.”

During oral arguments over the summer, much of the focus was on whether the wells were truly in an “adjacent” aquifer to the river and whether OWRD’s modeling accurately demonstrated an adverse impact to surface water from wells.

The plaintiffs argued they shouldn’t have been “regulated off” from pumping because their wells tap into deeper sources of groundwater than the alluvial aquifer that’s actually “adjacent” to the river.

The OWRD and several irrigation districts with senior water rights countered that the agency’s calculations used the best available information and that its definition of “adjacent aquifer” is legally plausible under water law.

Under the regulations adopted earlier this year, which will expire on March 2021, wells farther than 500 feet from surface waters in the Upper Klamath Basin won’t be subject to regulation — down from 1 mile at the time the lawsuit was filed.  In effect, that means the number of wells in the region subject to similar shutdowns has declined from 140 to 7.

Though it’s possible the old rules will be reinstated in 2021, it would require “speculation” for the court to assume that OWRD will not instead extend the interim regulations or adopt new ones, the ruling said.

Klamath Falls News – Margaret McCadden is the new principal at Merrill Malin Elementary School within the Klamath County School District. The new principal has deep roots in the area.

Growing up on a farm south of Klamath Falls, McCadden attended community events in both the Henley and Lost River areas. She started her education career 13 years ago as a kindergarten teacher at Henley Elementary School and was vice-principal of Ferguson Elementary School for three years before taking the reins of Malin and Merrill this fall. The two schools, which are about 10 miles apart, each have 15 staff members and about 150 students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Check out the Klamath County School District Page HERE!

Klamath Falls News – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with 27 of their Senate colleagues today requested that any end-of-year legislation include at least a two-year reauthorization of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act programs which are vital in Klamath County.

In a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the senators wrote that Congress has an obligation to ensure counties with large swaths of federally-owned tax-exempt forests and rangelands can adequately provide essential services for their residents. As history has proved without the certainty of these two critical programs, schools, libraries, and jails will close.

The services counties continue to provide will see a reduction in staffing and resources. Roads will go unpaved and become unsafe. Mental health and physical health services will be scaled back and in some cases even ended. Fewer and fewer law enforcement officers will be forced to patrol larger and larger areas. A short-term reauthorization of at least two years is critical to provide fiscal certainty for counties containing federally-owned lands.

Saturday, Representative Greg Walden will attend the christening of the U.S.S. Oregon in Groton, Connecticut.

The U.S.S. Oregon is a Virginia-class Submarine built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and is the first U.S. Navy Submarine to be named after the state.
Walden will be the keynote speaker at the christening. The vessel will be christened with water from Crater Lake and wine from Oregon.

According to the Pentagon, the Virginia-class submarines are built to conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions.

Klamath Falls News – PacifiCorp draft resource plan calls for increases in lower-cost wind, solar and storage to manage phased coal transition

PacifiCorp today released a draft of its long-term energy plan that continues investments in new wind generation and transmission while adding significant new solar and storage resources. The plan, which is the result of a comprehensive data analysis and stakeholder input process, demonstrates the company’s adoption of additional lower-cost renewable resources to meet customer needs and support for its phased coal transition. PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington, and California.

“The transition in how we meet our customers’ energy needs is underway,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp’s vice president of resource planning and acquisitions. “With a focus on lower-cost renewable resources and strategic transmission investments, this plan allows us to continue to deliver the reliable and low-cost energy our customers need as we embark on a phased and well-managed coal transition that minimizes impacts to our thermal operations workforce and communities.”

The draft “preferred portfolio” for the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) indicates how the company envisions meeting customer energy needs most cost-effectively over the next 20 years. PacifiCorp will file its final 2019 IRP with state regulatory commissions by October 18. The draft preferred portfolio and other information about the 2019 IRP can be found at www.pacificorp.com/irp.

Around the state yesterday at approximately 6:45 A.M. Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 20 near milepost 35. 

The investigation revealed that a gray 2016 Toyota Tundra, operated by 35-year-old Esmeralda of Albany was traveling eastbound when for unknown reasons lost control and collided with a westbound Commercial Motor Vehicle. Esmeralda Martinez was pronounced deceased at the scene and a male passenger, identified as 34-year-old Carlos Callejas-Martinez of Albany was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The westbound red 2019 International Knight Transportation was operated by 29-year-old Jay Azzano of Las Vegas.  Azzano was transported to a Bend area hospital via air ambulance with serious injuries. 

A coordinated, multi-agency law enforcement operation was conducted today to dismantle a vast international drug trafficking organization that conspired to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine manufactured in Mexico throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Federal search warrants were executed at 13 locations throughout the Portland area. Investigators seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine, four ounces of heroin, 11 ounces of cocaine and seven firearms and arrested 20 defendants. These defendants join 10 others who are already in custody on related state charges.

A 60-count indictment unsealed today, charges 41 people for their roles in the drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy.

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News.  Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.

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