Opinion, Siskiyou

OPINION: recent examples of the gravity of the situation unfolding at Copco, Iron Gate, the Klamath River and all its tributaries

Cover photo: Copco, photo credit: Lisa Mott, Feb. 11th, 2024

Dear Editor,

I am writing as a piggyback to my older brother’s letter that provides recent examples of the gravity of the situation unfolding at Copco, Iron Gate, the Klamath River and all its tributaries. A place that holds immeasurable sentimental value to my family. My parents raised 5 of us kids at Copco Lake settling there in 1977. My dad still lives in that home after serving as a CDF captain in Siskiyou County for over 30 years. So you see I am not merely an observer.

I felt the need to provide the facts and add a few truths after Tuesday’s meeting that the media has failed to report and Mark Bransom was so determined to side step and spin to his twisted narrative. 

First, KRRC’s reliance on drones for structural assessments is a negligent mockery of the situation. Are they hiring structural engineers, or do they expect a drone to reveal the structural damages inflicted on homes due to the drawdown? What concrete plans for actual structural inspections are in place? Are there any at all?

Second, Mark Bransom’s attempt to shift blame onto residents on Tuesday for not participating in his well study is reprehensible. The underlying truth is that the study demanded residents to surrender their rights, leaving them with no recourse. Opting for the $5000 offer meant forfeiting the ability to litigate later. My dad declined to participate due to this. This coercive tactic is an affront to justice.

Ransoms gaslighting tactics attempted to minimized the impact on wells that immediately went dry. He reduced the count to two which is offensive and deceitful. In truth, those 2 wells serve 12 homes. He also smugly tried to point out 7 aren’t currently occupied. Whether a home is occupied or a second residence, the damage is real, and KRRC’s downplaying is a callous distortion of the truth. The dirty brown water brought in by Bransom as a temporary solution to these folks is a stark testament to the inadequate compensation provided.

Later, when faced with questions regarding the tons of dead fish, Bransom casually brushed this off as collateral damage. Remember in his twisted Berkley mind, the complete devastation and poisoning of 250 miles of river and surrounding lands is a fair trade for 1 species of salmon. 

Lastly, the question of heavy metal testing remains shrouded in ambiguity, with Mark Bransom artfully dodging specifics. It has come to light that KRRC is NOT testing for the toxic kicks of heavy metals revealed by private tests up and down the Klamath. What do you think is going to happen down river to the people, wildlife, farmland, and livestock now that their water has Chromium tested at 17.8-times above the maximum EPA limit, barium 37-times, mercury, arsenic and led at 6 and 7-times above the maximum EPA limit? Death is going to happen. Exposure to heavy metals in drinking water, such as arsenic, lead, barium and chromium, has consistently been linked to various cancers like skin, lung, and kidney cancer. Scientists warned this was a possibility. KRRC ignored it. Now it’s happening. People and animals WILL die. Even you ignorant idealists who are cheering this on won’t be able to escape it. Once the cow’s been milked there’s no squirting the cream back up her udder, so here we are to see things through

The parallel between this and the PG&E scandal is undeniable. Like Hinkley, Copco Lake…I mean Copco Mud Flats, Iron Gate Swamp, Klamath River of Death, now faces irreversible damage to its ecosystems, wildlife, fish, ranch land, farmland and homes. The affected residents deserve justice. I implore local, state, and federal authorities to scrutinize Bransom’s actions and KRRC with the same intensity that Erin Brockovich applied to PG&E. 


Spring Anderson

One Comment

  1. Geoff Churchill

    Howdy Spring
    I am a third generation resident of siskiyou. Maybe later I can reveal my history it’s deep.
    I moved to Humboldt and check in with my parents that still live in Montague every so often. I made complaints numerous times concerning the silt underneath the lakes.
    I grew up waterskiing and fishing on iron gate and Copco. So I knew what was at stake.

    Now we are here. Thank you for covering this. I think it was …….well I won’t go there until we get a chance to talk off the record. We all know this is the very beginning of many years of contention between the state, tribes, and the residents of the river corridor to the sea.

    Feel free to contact me anytime

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