United States Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, accompanied by Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, spent yesterday in the Klamath Basin. U.S. Representatives Greg Walden and Doug La Malfa hosted the two Administration officials in a series of meetings in and around Klamath Falls.
“It was a great day for the basin,” said Klamath Water Users Association President Tricia Hill, who spoke with the Secretary during the visit.
The day culminated with a gathering at the site of the May 29, Shut Down, Fed Up rally organized by local farmers, business leaders, and other supporters of Klamath Basin agriculture. That event, attended by thousands of people, brought attention to the plight of the Klamath Project agricultural community.
In his remarks at the demonstration site, the Secretary said that news of the rally made him decide to come to the basin. He and Commissioner Burman met with the Department of Interior staff, tribal leaders, and farmers, ranchers, and local leaders.
Secretary Bernhardt also said that he had learned from what he heard during the day, “I am positive that the Secretary and Commissioner want a better future for our basin, and they re-affirmed President Trump’s respect for farmers and support for agriculture,” said Hill.
Secretary Bernhardt and Commissioner Burman both remarked that they would digest yesterdays information and follow up. The Secretary emphasized that future actions will be firmly grounded in law and the facts.
David L. Bernhardt was appointed Secretary in 2018 and confirmed by the United States Senate in April of 2019. The Department of the Interior has over 70,000 employees in multiple agencies, including Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and others.
Commissioner Burman was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate in 2017. She is the first woman to hold the position in the 118-year history of her agency.
Both have distinguished careers in public and private service and are also attorneys and experts in water and environmental law.
This was the first visit to the Klamath Basin by a Secretary of the Interior since 2003, and the first time ever that the Secretary and Commissioner have visited together.