Outraged farmers threatened to disrupt a federal order to stop the flow of irrigation water from a lake amid a severe drought in the US state of Oregon. They warned that right-wing militias will back them in case of confrontation.
Farmers are protesting because they own the water in the Upper Klamath Lake, farmer Dan Nielsen told RT’s Ruptly video agency. He stood outside an American flag-colored tent that was set up next to the canal headgates, which control the flow of irrigation water from the lake.
“It’s ours and the federal government actually just stole it. No due process of law, no compensation,” Nielsen said, adding that federal officials had violated the locals’ property rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Protesters brought signs saying “Water for Farms” and “Open the Gates. No Water. No Food. No Life.”
They spoke about releasing the water themselves if the government does not back down. “If they don’t budge… I think we’re just going to end up taking it,” Nielsen said. “It’s the only way the government gets it.” In order to avoid confrontation, officials must let farmers use the water for their crops or purchase the land from the farmers, he said.
The US Bureau of Reclamation closed the canal last month, saying that due to the extreme drought there was not enough water left for it to operate properly. The bureau also said that releasing the water will threaten the endangered species of salmon that inhabit the lake. The fish have agricultural and spiritual significance to the Native American tribes who live upstream. Read more…