Unintended consequences are results that were unforseen or not well thought out when a decision was made. For example, the uninteneded consequence of little John-John playing with a ball in the house is that he accidentally knocks over his brother's dominos. He didn't mean to, but it happened because of his decision to play with a ball near his brother's dominos.
Sometimes there are positive unitended consequences. However, more often than not, complex problems that are “fixed” with a simple solution usually lead to negative ones.
Does the KBRA have unitended consequences? Of course it does. Here are just a few:
- Removing Dams mean removing 168 Mega Watts of power from the Western Region electrical grid. Using the basic laws of supply and demand, less electrical supply will lead to higher costs for electricity.
- Less electricity also means a greater possibility of electrical shortages (recall what happened a couple of weeks ago during the heat wave in the mid-west and east coast).
- Replacing the 168 Mega Watts lost through dam removal with any sort of clean and efficient power is unlikely to occur within the next 15-20 years.
Purchasing private timber lands for the Klamath Tribes
- Money needed to purchase these lands doesn't exists. Moreover the Federal Goverment is trying to cut its budget, not expand it. Given this economic climate, it is highly unlikely “free” money from the Feds will float into the Klamath Basin for this expense. Instead, Basin residents will most likely be stuck with the bill.
- It is unclear whether the Klamath Tribes can declare their newly aquired land as part of their Reservation. If they can, then these lands become untaxable property to the county. In other words, private timber lands given to the Klamath Tribes will lead to a loss of county general fund revenue — which is used to keep jails open, police on patrol, etc.
- Accoding to Public Law 108-278, Klamath Tribes will become the management authority for any and all adjacent Federal lands — including National Parks and National Forrests.
- Higher eletrical rates from dam removal mean higher costs for farmers to pump water to grow crops.
- Higher farming costs mean higher food prices and/or less food is produced.
- Higher food prices and/or less food, mean less profit to farmers or fewer farmers.
- Fewer farming profits or fewer farmers mean less depsoable income to be spent in the Basin.
The question is whether the powers-that-be have looked closely at any of these? Have they studied these consequences as closely as they focus on fish habitat? The saying goes, the devil is in the details, and while we get nice, warm and fluffy slogans like “KBRA=Jobs”, we need our leaders to do a much better job at looking at these and other potential consquences of the KBRA to see if KBRA’s cost is worth it for all Basin residents — not just certain groups.