Oregon senators ask for $126 million to help Klamath Basin farmers

Two Oregon senators are asking Congress for $126 million in drought relief for Klamath Basin farmers, whose irrigation water was cut off earlier this year to save endangered species.

October 4, 2001 — Two Oregon senators are asking Congress for $126 million in drought relief for Klamath Basin farmers, whose irrigation water was cut off earlier this year to save endangered species.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) on Wednesday sent letters to members of Congress asking that the money be added onto the Department of Agriculture's budget, The Associated Press reported. The money would be used to help the farmers compensate from about $200 million in drought losses.

Another $16 million requested would come from other budgets.

The Senators were not optimistic about the effort, saying that U.S. funds were likely to be strained because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that resulted in over 4,000 missing and presumed dead.

Irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake was cut off to the farmers in Klamath Basin as a result of an environmental lawsuit to protect several species of endangered fish. But a summer-long drought has made matters much worse for the farmers that worked in the Klamath Project.

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