Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED
KLAMATH AGREEMENTS SIGNING CEREMONY
4/6/2016

Good morning. Today we are gathered to mark important commitments to one another, commitments to heal decades of hurts that have damaged our people and this beautiful, special place called the Klamath.

Some will say that they have heard it all before, that this is just another set of Klamath agreements, and that nothing is really changing.  To you and to them I say that is wrong.  Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Klamath, one where a progressive private utility, two states, and communities up and down the river are coming together to write the first chapter of a new Klamath story.

With these agreements we now know that salmon can once again reach their headwaters in California and Oregon.  To get there, we will work with our partners in a public process to secure the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through the means Congress has provided for.  We will complete this work in the next five years and start salmon on the path back to their homelands.

The agreements I am signing today chart a path to complete the first chapter of the new Klamath story.  But while we finish that work, I will not rest unless and until we begin the second chapter.  That chapter tells that healing the Klamath is about much more than dams.  For the Klamath tribes, it is about restoring lands and healthy watersheds that nurture the fish, wildlife and plants that are their rights.  For ranchers and farmers, it is about building a sustainable, predictable way of using water that is an important part of the region’s economic future.  And for all of us it is about the clean water we want to leave to our children and their children.

To all of the people of the Klamath - you have found compromise at great risk.  You have been courageous against long odds.  Together, you have the means to succeed with comprehensive Klamath solutions for all of the basin’s communities.  Please join with me and others, public and private, to finish this new, better story of the Klamath, a story that brings hope to everyone that special places can be healed in lasting ways for today and tomorrow.

In closing, I want to thank Chairman O’Rourke of the Yurok tribes for hosting us at this incredible place.  To all of you who have worked so hard to bring us to where we are today, you have made a real and lasting difference in the world.  Thank you for your perseverance and let’s keep going. 

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