August 21, 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden says the price tag is too high for agreements made in the Klamath Basin after a water crisis in 2001.
The high-desert basin faces drought and another irrigation shut-off this year. Many in the Oregon-California region say the damage could have been reduced if Congress had approved agreements aimed at restoring tribal fisheries, assuring irrigators of water and removing dams on the Klamath River.
Congress has balked, though, in part because of the cost.
Wyden held a hearing Thursday in Washington aimed at finding ways to shave costs and resolving Klamath issues that remain divisive.
He said it's encouraging the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation thinks the deals could take $550 million, instead of the $800 million projected. He said he'd like to see it cut further.
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