"A Republic, if you can keep it," replied Benjamin Franklin in 1787 to a query about what form of government was America's. Franklin knew the pressure that would be brought to bear against the fledgling Republic. "Pressure makes diamonds" is the saying, and pressure to be free made America a diamond, but in the case of America's hydropower -- her dams -- pressure seems to be creating breaches of ethics. The diamond may soon shatter under inestimable pressure.
Hydropower does not "endanger" "endangered" species. It helps celebrate "diversity" by making many responsible means of utilizing land and water possible. It provides clean, inexpensive power. It creates a climate of predictability: Water flows can be predicted by the holding or releasing of water from dams. Commerce, economical viability, recreation, and nature all prosper where there are dams. Dams were a good thing. They are still a good thing.
Missing from the equation
When most dams were built, such "mitigationally enhanced" "laws" -- whose seemingly only nature is coercive -- did not exist. Hydropower was viewed in a pure sense: The sense that such power was able to be harnessed and channeled. This power was of benefit to people, nature and the planet. People and places thrived. The equation made sense because it was sensible.
Nothing about "restoration agreements" or "agreements in principle" makes sense. To a lost traveler in a desert, a mirage only makes sense until he gets close enough to watch it all disappear.
Not-so-cheap power (brokers)
When those in positions of power back in Washington, D.C., decided they might be able to "tap in" to the bounty flowing in the West and other places with hydropower, they had to be in stealth mode. They had to make it appear that they were "for" nature. They had to make it seem that the responsible methods people had learned and were thriving on -- including dams -- were somehow a problem in need of a solution. They had to hammer out something that would appear to be credible. They had to be able to tap into the fount of taxpayer money that flowed into coffers, originally meant to pay a short list of national responsibilities. They had to create crises and change the mind set of most Americans in order to free up and divert that river of wealth from keeping a nation sovereign and independently wealthy, to reducing that nation to third-world "status" and total dependence upon imported necessities. A "service nation" would be a land of workers, in service to a class of powerful landlords. Ethics took a dive out the window, replaced by an addiction to greed -- an incurable addiction. Promises came to mean nothing, replaced by threats that relied upon "buying loyalty" for a price. Most, it seemed, had a price at which their loyalty could be purchased.
Along came Jones
"Jones" was the "Endangered Species Act." Jones trotted out all sorts of language deception, including, but not limited to, all the ways in which "pre-European settlement" conditions in America were somehow better than nowadays.
Indian tribes, long exploited by politicians, were offered another bag of trinkets: They'd get to "help" with the implementation of the ESA. Their tribal lands (often not even the same lands they once called home) would be "home" to "endangered" species. They'd even get a hand in helping the benevolent government agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, put its plan into action (Hello, Curtis Mack!). Pitting Indian against rancher/farmer/timberer/miner/commercial fisherman was a sparkling bauble that Indians often grabbed. Just like the mirage of the Indian "Trust Fund," which continues to dance like a mirage on the horizon, so, too, was the ESA a mirage. "Treatment Similar To States" (TSTS) would "give" Indian tribes rights to water that could be up to fifty miles from their "historic tribal boundaries" (whatever that means). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would make Indian tribes "partners." "Tribal leaders" became the only Indian voices heard, the only Indian voices published. Those "leaders," like many "leaders," often had their loyalty purchased, which effectively stole their heritage. The few Indians that still stand independent, have been forced into "undisclosed locations" for fear of their very lives.
Horses of three kinds
The entire language deception coma relies upon "facilitators," trained and pleasant people whose jobs depend on their unruffled demeanor and ability to "breakout" and "guide" the "process." Facilitators must be extensively trained and programmed to do their jobs and "achieve consensus." They must be able to speak to property owners and get away with calling them mere "land" owners. Facilitators must be able to stifle dissension and marginalize anyone to whom Red Flags are flying, anyone who might tip off the group that all is not well. Facilitators must be stalking horses in order to make Trojan horses look like gift horses!
To save a Republic
A few members of the Shasta and Karuk Indian tribes and a few other individuals, stand unflinchingly against the tide of those being pressured to breach the dams. From dams on the Klamath to dams everywhere else (except in China, where huge dams are built with nary a peep from "conservation" and "environmental" organizations and global banking interests), pressure is making something other than diamonds.
Pressure is being brought to bear to breach a Constitutional Republic called the United States of America, taking down the property rights and freedom and obliterating every reason people came to settle this great land. Burning forests and undammed rivers are a sorry reminder that America teeters on a precipice. Who will save her -- and us -- if not us?
Klamath dams can save a Republic, but we must protect both the dams and the Republic, or both will be irretrievably lost.
Julie Kay Smithson is a property rights researcher in rural Ohio's Amish and Mennonite farm country. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.