Klamath: Agencies mum after science panel report

02/19/02
By ANITA BURKE
Herald and News

The deadline was Friday, but the Interior Department hasnít said a word about how its agencies have responded to the National Academy of Sciences report about the 2001 water cutoff in the Klamath Basin.

Herald and News calls to the Interior Departmentís press aides in Washington havenít been returned. Regional press aides for the Interior Department and its agencies say they canít talk about the reports, what they contained or what will be made of them. They refer journalists to Interior Department headquarters in Washington.

After the academy issued its report saying the water cutoff wasnít supported by scientific data, Interior Secretary Gale Norton asked two agencies she controls for a response.

The agencies are the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The responses were due on her desk within 10 days, a period officials said would end Feb. 15. No press aides have been able even to say whether the agencies met the deadline.

Dallas Boyd, Rep. Greg Waldenís press secretary, said Walden thought the review was an internal document that would not necessarily be made public.

However, Walden wanted to see the agenciesí response and had asked if the report would be released after Norton had reviewed it. As of the end of last week, Boyd said, the department hadnít replied.


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