2003 Scorecard Vote
The Klamath basin of Oregon and California hosts up to 80 percent of the Pacific flyway's waterfowl and the greatest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the continental United States. Salmon spawn in portions of the Klamath River and its tributaries, and the basin's six national wildlife refuges are among the most important migratory bird habitat in the country.
Unfortunately, more than 20,000 acres of these refuges have been leased to commercial farming enterprises that use 56 different pesticides, including several known carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disrupters to grow crops that use vast amounts of scarce water supplies, forcing refuge marshes to go dry periodically. In addition, runoff from agricultural chemicals and erosion of farmland further degrade water quality in both the refuges and the Klamath River.
To help address these problems, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Chris Shays (R-CT) offered an amendment to H.R. 2691, the 2004 Interior appropriations bill, that would have prohibited the Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing new commercial agriculture leases in the Klamath basin for crops that have severe environmental impacts. At the same time, it would have permitted the growing of crops that provide some benefits to wildlife, in a manner consistent with farming practices on other national wildlife refuges. On July 17, 2003, the House rejected the amendment by a 197-228 vote (House roll call vote 380). YES is the pro-environment vote.