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Browsing the archives for the Agriculture category.

Judge dismisses lawsuit against grazing on eight Oregon allotments

Agriculture, cattle, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Lawsuits, Liberty

PNP comment: Finally, a judge that makes some sense from outrageous claims — the claims are just plain wrong! — Editor Liz Bowen

A federal judge has rejected arguments that cattle grazing hurts endangered sucker fish in violation of forest management law.

Capital Press

Mateusz Perkowski

Published on March 11, 2017 2:39PM

A federal judge has rejected environmentalist arguments that cattle grazing has unlawfully harmed endangered sucker fish in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke has thrown out a lawsuit by three environmental groups — Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters and the Western Watersheds Project — which claimed that grazing was unlawfully authorized on eight allotments in the Lost River watershed.

The plaintiffs accused the U.S. Forest Service of “ignoring widespread evidence of riparian problems” that adversely affected the Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker, which are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

However, the judge has ruled that plaintiffs failed to prove that grazing degraded streams in violation of the National Forest Management Act.

Conditions have improved in many riparians areas despite continued grazing while recovery trends are “not significantly different” among sites that are grazed and those that are not, Clarke said.

“This would tend to indicate grazing is not the reason for any failure to attain (riparian management objectives) in streams found on the challenged allotments,” he said.

While the environmental groups have pointed to evidence of deterioration along portions of some creeks, they haven’t shown “watershed level” and “landscape-scale” failures to live up to fish-recovery objectives, Clarke said.

The “creek-specific observations” by environmental groups aren’t enough to “successfully rebut” the Forest Service’s interpretation of the data, he said.

“Finally, many of the creek assessments plaintiffs point to as evidence of a failure to attain (riparian management objectives) actually show improving or stable trends,” the judge said.

The Forest Service’s decision to authorize grazing on the eight allotments was based on “reasonably gathered and evaluated data” related to fish recovery strategies mandated under the National Forest Management Act, he said.

Clarke also dismissed the plaintiffs’ Endangered Species Act arguments, ruling they were moot because future grazing approvals will rely on a new consultation among federal agencies on the two fish species.

The environmental groups’ claims of National Environmental Policy Act violations were likewise dismissed because the plaintiffs hadn’t fully “exhausted” administrative challenges against grazing plans, the ruling said.

New information that’s emerged about threats to the fish and their critical habitat doesn’t rise to the level of requiring additional environmental analysis of grazing, Clarke said.

For example, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached the “alarming” conclusion that shortnose suckers face a “high degree of threat of extinction,” this finding doesn’t influence the Forest Service’s assessment of grazing, he said.

“While FWS concluded that significant threats to shortnose suckers’ viability remain and thus that their chance of extinction is high, it did not identify grazing as one of those threats; in fact, it made no mention of grazing at all,” the judge said.

http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20170311/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-grazing-on-eight-oregon-allotments

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Fixing the EPA –hopefully!

Agriculture, Clean Water ACT - EPA

Why farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

San Francisco Chronicle

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order directing federal agencies to revise the Clean Water Rule, a major regulation published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. The rule’s purpose is to clarify which water bodies and wetlands are federally protected under the Clean Water Act.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt led a multi-state lawsuit against the rule as Oklahoma attorney general, and has called it “the greatest blow to private property rights the modern era has seen.”

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Amish Farmer Jailed Over Herbal Salve Label

Agriculture, Federal gov & land grabs

Redoubt News.com

The entire indictment is explained at the bottom of the article.

KY Amish Farmer Jailed over a Salve Label

The FDA Wants Him Jailed for Life

Reprinted with permission from Kentucky Free Press
By Sally Oh

I know it sounds like I made up a terribly inflammatory headline… but it’s not JUST inflammatory. It’s true, the Girod indictment is below.

Amish farmer Sam Girod of Owingsville makes 3 products: a chickweed salve, a bloodroot salve and an essential oil blend called Sine Eze. The photo of the 3 products was just taken on my iPad on my desk. You can find similar products online. In fact, you’ll find the recipes online. You can make these products in your kitchen, it’s not rocket science.

A few years ago, the FDA came after Sam for labeling crimes — Sam said his salves could cure certain things and that’s a big FDA no-no. Sam immediately fixed the labels as per FDA demands.

But then the FDA fixated on him and just would not let go. You’ll see in the indictment. In my line of hobby work (political blogging), I’ve seen this over and over and over again. An alphabet agency gets you in its sights and just will not quit.

And why would they quit? No skin off their teeth and gives them something to do. State agencies are bad enough, but the feds… the feds are especially lawless. There is no accountability in a federal agency, they break their own rules as a matter of course.

I have a little inside info on why this persecution is taking place plus a couple of questions. “Inside info” because I’m involved in food and health freedom, so aware of persecution of other farmers around the country.

The first thing of note is that, when it comes to powerful well-funded federal agencies looking to set precedent, the Amish have a special target on their backs. Why? Because they generally don’t use lawyers which makes them easy prey. They don’t use lawyers because the Amish are self-sufficient, they know their constitutional rights and they are a peaceful community. They don’t fight back (unless lives are at stake).

The FDA is also after an enormously successful Amish farm in PA, Miller’s Organic Farm. Like Sam, the Millers have established a private club whereby only members can purchase products. As a member of Miller’s Organic Farm, I can order anything I want, including raw milk, that can be shipped to me anywhere in the country. (Read up on the Miller’s case here.)

The FDA hates private membership clubs because club sales and products are NOT subject to FDA rules and regulations! Private memberships are protected under the Constitution’s contract clause. I can contract with anyone I want, sell them anything I made or produced, and the state may not interfere. The state, of course, hates this kind of freedom and will do anything it can to pierce that veil. Including bankrupting businesses and jailing a peaceful farmer for the rest of his life.

MORE in below link

http://redoubtnews.com/2017/02/18/amish-farmer-jailed-herbal-salve-label/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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‘Takings’ trial adjourns

Agriculture, CORRUPTION, Courts, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath Project - BOR

Herald and News.com

February 15, 2017

U.S. Federal Court Judge Marian Blank Horn adjourned the Klamath Basin “takings” case in Washington, D.C., on Monday, bringing an official end to the trial.

But there is still more work to be done.

“It is likely considerable time will be required to thoroughly complete review of the record and issue a final judgment,” said Klamath Falls water attorney Bill Ganong in a news release.

Further briefings based on the evidence and applicable legal standards, followed by closing oral argument, is tentatively planned for May 9, according to Ganong.

“We know it will be after May 9,” he said. “Sometime after that, the judge will issue her final opinion.”

The two-week trial started on Jan. 30 at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, within walking distance of the White House. More than 20 irrigators or those representing the interests of irrigators testified during the trial of their losses in 2001 when water was shutoff to benefit endangered fish downstream.

Bureau of Reclamation officials were listed as witnesses for the defense during the trial, and shared agreements that the water available in 2001 had to be used to meet the requirements of biological opinions issued that year to promote the health of the sucker and coho salmon, according to Ganong.

If they prevail, the irrigators may be awarded up to $30 million. More importantly to them, the irrigators hope a ruling in their favor would mean that federal agencies must balance agriculture’s loss against the benefits to fish downstream.

Class-action lawsuit documentation

Ganong said legal counsel for the plaintiff are formulating documents that will make it possible for irrigators to opt in to what has been certified as a class-action lawsuit.

Ganong and lead counsel Roger Marzulla, of Marzulla Law, based in Washington, D.C., worked on drafting a notice and a claim form for the suit on Tuesday.

“You have to file a form that says you’re joining the class and going to make a claim for the damages you suffered,” Ganong said.

Ganong said the defense, led by Kristine S. Tardiff, of the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental & Natural Resources, will have an opportunity to review the class-action form with Marzulla Law, with a chance to discuss its contents.

“By Friday, they will either have agreed on the notice and the claim form and that will go to the judge,” Ganong said.

“If there’s a disagreement, then the judge will resolve that disagreement and issue the final form. So by Monday or Tuesday of next week, there will be an order approving the notice that goes out and the claim form that goes out.”

The claim form is not finalized yet, but Ganong said irrigators wishing to fill out a form will be able to do so locally. A deadline to file will be determined by the court.

All actions are preliminary and subject to negotiation, according to Ganong.

Ganong, who heads home today from the nation’s capital, said he was impressed by those who testified at trial.

“The sincerity and the impact on the community, that just came through clearly,” Ganong said.

http://www.heraldandnews.com/klamath/takings-trial-adjourns/article_92d89fcd-11df-59e2-94e8-755645b55072.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Bundy standoff: BLM tyranny and aggression exposed in video

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

Submitted comment:  If you’ve doubted BLM’s aggression in the Bundy Ranch Standoff, doubt no more. While the video is around 30 minutes in length, it’s worth every minute to watch. This is some of the footage government did not want you to see or made public. It is certainly worth your time to watch Michele Fiore’s video clip as well. I wish we had an elected representative as genuinely concerned for our rights as she is for her constituents.

http://freedomoutpost.com/leaked-video-from-bundy-ranch-siege-demonstrates-blm-tyranny-aggression/

Remember LaVoy Finicum 01/26/2016

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Bundy: Prosecutors don’t want certainly things to come up in court

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: Good info. — Editor Liz Bowen

Freedom Outpost.com

Here’s What The Prosecutors in the Bundy Ranch Case Didn’t Want the Court To See Or Hear (Video & Pictures)

Here’s What The Prosecutors in the Bundy Ranch Case Didn’t Want the Court To See Or Hear (Video & Pictures)

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

 

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Judge orders feds to identify agent in Cliven Bundy case

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

From the Trenches World Report.com

USA Today – by Robert Anglen

PHOENIX — A federal judge in Las Vegas ordered prosecutors in the Bundy Ranch standoff trials to turn over an investigative report accusing a key government witness of wrongdoing.

Judge Gloria Navarro denied motions to dismiss charges against 17 defendants who claimed the government withheld evidence by concealing misconduct allegations against the federal agent in charge of operations during the 2014 standoff.  

Navarro said prosecutors had a duty to release a full copy of a report by the Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General naming the agent, calling it “material evidence” that could be used to impeach the government’s witness.

“The OIG Report details several violations of federal ethics regulations, misuse of government property, misuse of a government position, and ‘a lack of candor when interviewed,’ ” Navarro wrote in a ruling Wednesday. “At a minimum, (defendants) may use this alleged misconduct on cross-examination to impeach (the agent).”

Opening statements began Thursday in the first of three trials against ranchers and militia members accused of conspiracy when they took up arms in 2014 to stop Bureau of Land Management officials from seizing cattle owned by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

The inspector general’s report made public Jan. 30 did not name the agent. But attorneys for the defendants said it contained enough details to positively identify him as Dan Love, the BLM special agent in charge of Utah and Nevada between 2012 and 2015.

Lawyers in court Thursday briefly discussed whether Love would be called to testify. Although prosecutors suggested they might not use him as a witness, they mentioned Love several times and showed jurors a slide with his picture from the standoff.

“This is one of those determining factors … in a case. This is a significant event,” Las Vegas lawyer Bret Whipple said Thursday afternoon. “We should have had this information years ago.”

Whipple represents Cliven Bundy, who is scheduled to go on trial with the second group of defendants 30 days after the first trial ends.

He said the report could be used to show Love’s pattern and practices of misbehavior. He said federal investigators for years have been aware of Love’s wrongdoing and chose to hide it even as trial commenced.

Whipple said his client and other defendants maintain Love escalated tensions at the ranch and that his aggressive behavior turned a peaceful demonstration into an armed standoff.

“It gives value to our concern that there was government overreach,” he said.

Report details misconduct at Burning Man 

The inspector general’s report cites ethical violations that occurred in 2015 at the annual Burning Man event in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Federal investigators said the agent wrongly used his influence to obtain benefits for himself and his family members at Burning Man, abused federal law-enforcement resources and intimidated other BLM staff to keep quiet about his conduct. They also accused the agent of manipulating BLM hiring practices to help a friend get hired.

An analysis by the Reno Gazette-Journal and The Arizona Republic found many details in the report coincide with Love’s career, including the agent’s former title, his base of operation, his past assignments and his on-site supervisor. In addition, the report cited a June 2015 Gazette-Journal story about complaints against Love over his conduct before Burning Man began.

Love has not responded to repeated phone messages left at his Utah office and on his cellphone.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Bureau of Land Management officials in Washington, D.C., have declined to comment.

Standoff a flashpoint in public-lands battle

The Bundy trials represent one of the West’s most high-profile land-use cases, which erupted in 2014 when armed ranchers and militia members mounted a six-day standoff against BLM officials during the “Battle of Bunkerville.”

For two decades, the BLM repeatedly ordered Bundy to remove his cattle from federal lands near his ranch about 80 miles north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. The BLM obtained a court order in 2014 to seize Bundy’s cattle as payment for more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.

In April, the BLM, led by Love, implemented a roundup of 1,000 head of Bundy’s cattle ranging on public land.

Bundy issued a social-media battle cry. Hundreds of supporters, including members of several militia groups, streamed to the ranch from several Western states, including Nevada, Arizona, Idaho and Oklahoma.

Pictures of prone figures on overpasses sighting long rifles at BLM agents in a dusty wash below galvanized the public and brought international awareness to the feud over public lands.

Local law enforcement officials, including the Clark County Sheriff, negotiated a settlement and the BLM agreed to abandon the roundup. No shots were fired and no arrests were made.

The standoff was hailed as a victory by militia members. Cliven Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, cited their success at Bundy Ranch in their run-up to the siege of an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016, also in protest of BLM policies. An Oregon federal jury acquitted Ammon, Ryan and five others in October.

As 1st trial opens, judge rebukes prosecutors

Six defendants, from Arizona, Idaho and Oklahoma, are the first to be tried. Federal prosecutors designated them as the “least culpable,” but all 17 defendants face identical charges and could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted.

The 17 defendants are charged with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, using a firearm in a crime of violence, obstruction of justice, interference of commerce by extortion and aiding and abetting a crime. Two others who were charged pleaded guilty last year.

Navarro said dismissing the cases, a drastic step used only in extreme cases of misconduct, was not warranted.

“Given the only very recent release of the OIG Report, the government’s failure to disclose it falls well short of outrageous,” she wrote.

But Navarro appeared to rebuke federal prosecutors for their failure to disclose information.

“To the extent defendants seek disclosure of the personnel records of other federal agents,” Navarro wrote, “the court reminds the government that it has a continuing duty (to) inspect for material information the personnel records of federal law enforcement officers who will testify at trial.”

Follow Robert Anglen on Twitter: @robertanglen

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/10/cliven-bundy-case-agent/97734792/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Scott Valley POW meets 2-9-17

Agriculture, POW

Scott Valley Protect Our Water

meeting from January was postponed and will be held

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Fort Jones Community Center

Fort Jones, CA

7 p.m.

Major discussions on water, including meeting CA. new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and

CA. Fish and Wildlife implementation of new regs on 1602 Permit to get in the creek or river to push up gravel to obtain your legal water right.

Speakers:

Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor

Preston Harris, Siskiyou RCD coordinator

Erin Ryan, field rep for Congressman LaMalfa

Liz Bowen on the Bundy trials

Rich Marshall – Siskiyou Water Users Assoc.

Mark Baird – State of Jefferson

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6 Bundy Ranch ‘Gunmen And Followers’ To Begin Trial

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

OBP.com

A federal jury in Nevada is about to be picked to decide whether a tense standoff pitting armed ranchers and rangers against federal agents over a herd of cattle in a dry river bed amounted to a peaceful expression of free speech and weapon rights, or an insurrection against the U.S. government.

Trial begins Monday in Las Vegas for six men — the first of a trio of proceedings for 17 defendants that will later include Nevada cattleman Cliven Bundy, four of his adult sons and seven other men. Each is facing the equivalent of the rest of his life in prison for the confrontation nearly three years ago.

The courtroom showdown is the latest battle over Western federal land policy dating to the Sagebrush Rebellion in Nevada more than 40 years ago. A jury in Oregon in October acquitted seven people, including two Bundy brothers, of federal conspiracy and weapon charges in an occupation of a federal wildlife refuge.

“They’re not the Bundys,” said Todd Leventhal, attorney for defendant Orville Scott Drexler, one of the six whose case begins Monday. “But realistically, this is a Bundy case. The outcome of this trial affects the other two.”

Although they’ve been characterized as the least culpable “followers and gunmen” among the 19 men arrested a year ago, stakes are high for Drexler, Todd Engel, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart, all of Idaho, Gregory Burleson of Phoenix and Richard Lovelein of Oklahoma.

RELATED COVERAGE

4 Of 7 Refuge Occupiers Set To Appear In Second Trial Will Plead Guilty

Two other defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and are expected to be sentenced in coming months to up to six years in prison. They are not expected to testify.

If convicted of all 10 charges, including conspiracy, firearm offenses and assault on a federal officer, each of the six could face up to 101 years in prison.

“This is not an undercard for Mr. Lovelien,” defense attorney Shawn Perez said of his client. “It is the main event.”

The six are accused of bringing guns to the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, to support Bundy family members against U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents enforcing federal court orders to herd Bundy cows off public rangeland in the scenic Gold Butte area.

Hundreds of supporters were in a dry river bed when the standoff took place, and dozens of self-styled militia members from across the nation remained for months afterward in dusty and windy camps around the Bundy ranch.

At the height of the protests, they blocked roads, gave speeches, flew flags and set up armed checkpoints to protect the rancher who declares that the federal government doesn’t own the land, the people do.

The standoff came to a dramatic end April 12, 2014, with Bundy backers positioned on a high Interstate 15 overpass pointing military-style AR-15 and AK-47 weapons at heavily armed land management agents and contract cowboys herding cattle toward a corral in a dry wash below.

Las Vegas police stood by without interfering, after then-Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated a stand-down that was to have had the federal agents release the cows and abandon the cattle roundup.

Through a spokeswoman, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden and the four prosecutors handling the case declined this week to comment about the evidence or the trial, which is expected to take several weeks.

A Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman, Megan Crandall, also declined to comment.

The government may also have to overcome a potentially damaging new BLM inspector general ethics and conduct report, made public this week.

It said the Salt Lake City-based land management supervisory agent who headed the Bundy cattle roundup misused his position during the 2015 Burning Man festival in northern Nevada, and manipulated a hiring process so a friend could get a bureau job.

Leventhal said he hopes prosecutors show jurors footage collected from many defendants in the months after the standoff by a documentary film crew from a company called Longbow Productions. Attorneys allege the effort was an undercover front for the FBI.

Jury selection is expected to take several days before prosecutors begin outlining the government case.

http://www.opb.org/news/article/bunkerville-standoff-bundy-ranch-trial-start/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Klamath BOR farmers: ‘Takings’ case moves to Washington, D.C. venue

Agriculture, Biologists for hire, CA & OR, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath Project - BOR, Lawsuits, Liberty

PNP comment: The two below articles are of great importance. The right outcome will be a major pushback on the ESA and the corrupt practices government agencies and bureaucrats use to become tyrants over private property. — Editor Liz Bowen

Holly Dillemuth

  • Jan 20, 2017

  • Herald and News.com

Klamath Basin irrigators are taking their case to a higher court.

A historic case on the ramifications of a major water shutoff to Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators in 2001 will be heard at trial from local farmers or their attorneys starting Monday, Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C.

Local water attorney Bill Ganong, who is among the first of the local group to board a flight out of Klamath Falls on Jan. 26 for the trip, has been anticipating it for more than a decade. Ganong serves as special counsel for the more than 20 who will testify during the hearing, which could last up to three weeks.

“It’s been a long journey,” Ganong said at his law office downtown last week.“We were planning on it at about 2005.”

The ‘Takings’ case

The journey will take the local group to Washington, D.C. to share testimony in what is being called the “takings” case at the U.S. Federal Court of Claims. The trial begins with testimony from area irrigators about the impact of the 2001 water shutoff to their operations.

In April 2001, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and National Marine Fisheries Service issued biological opinions declaring that water diverted from Upper Klamath Lake by Klamath Project irrigators would endanger suckers and coho salmon, citing the Endangered Species Act.

“The agencies cannot say, ‘Don’t do it,’” Ganong said. “They can just say, ‘If you do it, here’s what’s going to happen. And then the law says, no U.S. person can allow that to happen.”

The 2001 water shutoff decision prompted the historic Klamath Bucket Brigade, a protest that drew widespread attention to the Klamath Basin. On May 7, 2001, thousands of people gathered in downtown Klamath Falls, forming a line from Lake Ewauna in Veterans Memorial Park, up Main Street, to the A Canal bridge at Crater Lake Parkway and Esplanade Avenue, to drop 50 buckets of water — one for each state in the U.S. — into the canal.

“It was a statement and it worked,” Ganong said. “It was national, live television.”

No water

Irrigation water remained shut off to Basin farmers between April and July 2001, available only at minimum levels for stock water.

“It bankrupted a lot of people or financially put them in a position where they had to sell or go find a different trade or a different occupation,” Ganong said.

Now, Klamath Basin irrigators will get their day in court.

“All of them have a story,” Ganong said.

Those attending from Klamath Falls and the surrounding areas hope to utilize their time in the nation’s capital to also meet with the Oregon congressional delegation, Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and congressman Greg Walden.

“The people who are going back, some of them are just giddy almost,” Ganong said. “They’ve been waiting so long and to finally have it come to trial … it’s a big deal. It’s just a big deal.”

A long time coming, ‘too late’ for some

But not everyone can make the trip.

“We had to go through a process to add some witnesses who we hadn’t identified before, because some of our original people we identified have passed away or have medical or age-related issues that prevent them from traveling,” Ganong said.

“We’ve just lost a lot of people in the ag community,” Ganong added.

“It’s taken so long for these people to get to this point and hopefully compensated for what they lost. For many of them, it’s almost symbolic now.”

Ganong said farmers could expect to see a total $28 million to $30 million if a decision is handed down in their favor.

But he alluded to a favorable outcome for farmers being more than financial.

“Almost all of the farmers going back — maybe all of them — they’re third- or fourth-generation on the same farm,” Ganong said. “It is in their DNA.”

A long and difficult road

Ganong detailed a lengthy history of the case, which passed through the hands of two previous judges, and now is now in the hands of a third.

“The first judge for approximately four or five years, apparently had some medical conditions that interfered with her ability to perform her job as a judge,” Ganong said. “So the case got filed and it literally, it just sat. Nothing really happened for … it seems like it was four years.”

Stopping to recall the name of the judge, he couldn’t.

“It’s been too long,” Ganong said.

The judge retired and the case was assigned to the late Francis Allegra.

“In the course of the next few years, there was a lot that took place, most of it in writing motions,” Ganong said.

Claims dismissed

Ganong said Allegra dismissed the claims that said, one, the U.S. government took property from farmers, and two, that farmers were protected under the Klamath Compact.

“He ultimately decided that we didn’t have a case so he dismissed it,” Ganong said.

“In his opinion, the United States owned the water and could do whatever it wanted with it. He found it in their favor.”

An appeal to Allegra’s decision was made, and over the course of time, the case was handled by the U.S. Court of Appeals with assistance from the Oregon Supreme Court.

“That court started looking at our appeal and decided they had some questions of how Oregon law applied to this case so they then referred it to the Oregon Supreme Court and that was about a two-year detour,” Ganong said. “The Oregon Supreme Court ruling was very favorable to us.”

Oregon court ruling

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the water from the Klamath Basin was property, and that it was taken from farmers.

The court landed back in the hands of Allegra, who died in 2015.

The “takings” case has been with Judge Marian Horn since, who set a firm court date in the face of requests to continue the case further.

“She took the bull by the horns,” Ganong said.

Ganong is hopeful of a favorable outcome for farmers.

“If we prevail, then going forward, the federal government will have to weigh the cost of the decisions it makes on endangered species and other federal laws,” Ganong said.

“They haven’t had to at least consider financially the impact on the community when they withhold water or delay the delivery of water and this will turn that around.

“This will not change the law,” he emphasized. “The United States has a duty to do whatever is necessary to prevent the extinction or loss of threatening endangered species, including taking water, including taking land, including taking logging.

“What this will do is cause the United States to pay private property owners for the loss of their water or their land or their ability to harvest timber. And it could be an enormous amount of money.”

http://www.heraldandnews.com/klamath/takings-case-moves-to-washington-d-c-venue/article_b3b6e1d4-4e0d-56fa-9bc9-e34b7f9f33aa.html

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