Solutions for the Klamath Basin

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Conference Organized by PERC
Klamath Falls, Oregon
June 8, 2004

Summary

The Klamath Basin conflict between endangered fish and farmers stems from a failure to establish who actually owns the water. The establishment and clarification of ownership rights may help resolve matters. The Property and Environment Research Center hosted a June 8 conference in Klamath Falls to address these issues.

I . Solutions for the Klamath Basin
by Jane S. Shaw

We used to hear the expression “Let George do it” to describe the very human tendency to leave the solution of a problem to someone else. Today, we tend to let the federal government be “George.” ... But decades of government intervention have shown that the federal government isn’t up to the task.

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II. Property Rights for Klamath Water
by James L. Huffman, J.D.

The problem we face in the Klamath Basin, as in every environmental controversy, is the allocation of scarce resources. We have a limited supply of water, but potential uses for that water exceed the available supply. This issue is crucial not only for those associated with the Basin, but also for the world at large.

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Before joining PERC, Jane Shaw was a journalist who had developed an uneasy feeling that much of the commentary about environmental policy that she read--and even some that she wrote--was tilted in the wrong direction. The usual solution to an environmental problem was to turn it over to the government. She had become uncomfortable with this...
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