Tuesday, 19 January 2021

News

LAKE COUNTY – With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, the fun will get started this weekend.


If you don't already have something planned, check out what's going on in the coming days, which offer everything from worm races to dancing, barbecues and fireworks.


Saturday, June 30


Clearlake Independence Day Festivities


The City of Clearlake takes the lead this year, holding its Independence Day Parade – with Congressman Mike Thompson as this year's grand marshal – beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. The parade begins at Redbud Park, 14655 Lakeshore Drive, leading down to Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive.


At Austin Park, following the parade, there will be a street fair, kinetic sculpture racing, live music, car show, arts and crafts, barbecue, children’s activities and lots more.


And, of course, it wouldn't be July in Clearlake without the 40th annual International Worm Races, also at Austin Park.


United Veterans Council barbecue


The United Veterans Councils is sponsoring a fundraiser barbecue in conjunction with the parking lot sale at the Riviera Shopping Center.


The barbecue will will serve up Italian sausages and hot dogs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1.


Proceeds will support the Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County, going to repair rifles and replace worn uniforms.


Hospice Services of Lake County Anniversary Celebration, Lakeport


Every year, Hospice helps hundreds of families, offering medical care and comfort to those in the end stages of life, and counseling to their families.


Hospice is celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, and will hold a special night of disco dancing, dining and celebrating from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Fritch Hall at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St., Lakeport. Tickets cost $75 each. Hospice can be reached at 263-6222.


Maxine Sherman Memorial Fireworks, Clearlake Oaks


The Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Business Association will hold its fourth annual fireworks display in honor of the late Maxine Sherman, a business association member who supported the annual fireworks displays by holding numerous fundraisers.


The fun starts at dusk at Wigeon Bay. Info: (707) 998-4210, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or www.clearlakeoaks.org.


Monday, July 2


Robinson Rancheria Fireworks Show, Nice


Robinson Rancheria will add some holiday excitement to Monday, with a fireworks that can be viewed from the parking lot in front of the casino.


The free show starts at dusk. Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino is located at 1545 E. Highway 20. For information call 800-809-3636.


Tuesday, July 3


Fireworks Show and Barbecue, Hidden Valley Lake


The Hidden Valley Lake Association’s Greenview Restaurant staff will host a late afternoon barbecue with music and fireworks to be launched from the dam.


The barbecue takes place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The fireworks start at dusk, and are best viewed from the lake area, beaches and marina at Big Beach Park, 18174 Hidden Valley Road. For information, call 987-3138.


Wednesday, July 4


Lakeport Independence Day Festivities, Lakeport


Independence Day in Lakeport begins with an all-day street fair, arts and crafts, plus music and food at 11 a.m. at Library Park.


The fun lasts until throughout the day, with the event culminating in the lighted boat parade at 9:30 p.m. and fireworks over Clear Lake at dusk.


American Legion Fourth of July barbecue, Kelseyville


The Kelseyville American Legion Post No. 194 will hold its 41st annual Fourth of July barbecue from noon to 5 p.m. at the Legion Hall, located at Second and Gaddy Lane.


On the menu is barbecue beef and chicken, beans, salad and garlic bread. The requested donation is $8 for adults, $4 for children under 12.


Proceeds from the event go to support community programs such as nurses scholarships, Boys and Girls State, environmental camp for kids, and the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary's Fourth of July and Christmas parties at the Yountville Veterans Home.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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The Westwind fire burned three homes early Wednesday morning. Photo by Kim Clymire.

 

LOWER LAKE – An early morning fire on Wednesday burned three mobile homes at a Lower Lake mobile home park.


The fire broke out at the Westwind mobile home park at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, reported Chief Jim McMurray of the Lake County Fire Protection District. The park is located on Konocti Vista Drive off of Pt. Lakeview Road.


McMurray said two mobiles were completely destroyed, with a third burned but not as seriously as the others.


Two more homes were in the fire's immediate path, said McMurray, with many other homes in the park jeopardized as well.


No injuries to residents or firefighters were reported.


A total of five engines, three water tenders, one rescue and one medic unit were on scene, said McMurray, with units coming from his district as well as Kelseyville, Lakeport and Cal Fire.


Cal Fire, said McMurray, remains well-staffed in Lake County despite resources that are needed to fight Lake Tahoe's Angora fire.


McMurray estimated that 25 firefighters battled the blaze, which was contained by about 3:30 a.m., with all equipment returned to quarters by 6:30 a.m.


The cause of the fire is still under investigation, McMurray reported. “They had a lot of debris to go through to make a determination.”


Information about the individuals who lost their homes was not available by publication time.


In situations where people lose their homes to fire, Georgina Lehne, executive director of the Lake County Community Action Agency, said the Red Cross is the first responder.


However, those in need can receive food from the agency's emergency food pantry as well as clothes, Lehne said. LCCAA can be reached at 995-0495.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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The burned homes were closely surrounded by other mobiles. Photo by Kim Clymire.
 

 

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LAKEPORT – It's been a busy and productive year for KPFZ, Lake County's community radio station.


As the all-volunteer station has pursued its goal of being on air at high power this fall, KPFZ and its volunteer force have secured the county's commitment of a $30,000 grant, reached an agreement for antenna space on Mt. Konocti and, now, found and rented studio space in downtown Lakeport.


Station manager and founder Andy Weiss reports that KPFZ's new studio space will be located at 149 Main St., Suite 240.


“The third element of getting community radio into Lake County is in place,” said Weiss. “We've raised the money, have permission to put the transmitter and antenna on Mt. Konocti, and now we have secured a very promising studio space.”


The new home for community radio includes three rooms – an office/reception area; a radio control room for "live" broadcasting; and a production studio for news, recording, editing, promos and on-air spots – amounting to about 650 square feet, Weiss said.


Weiss said the building that houses the studio “is Victorian, well appointed and charming,” with halls filled with artwork, a large deck out back, a location central to the courthouse, businesses and other media, plus great views of the lake, mountains and downtown Lakeport. All of those aspects make it an ideal place for a community radio station, Weiss said.


The building's owner, Ross Kauper, gave the station an excellent deal on a two-year lease with the option for third year, Weiss said.

 

KPFZ has been looking for independent studio space for many years, said Weiss. Previously, the station broadcast out of a private residence and the back room of a private business. He said KPFZers are all very excited about this big step towards putting community radio on the air in Lake County.

 

KPFZ's work is far from over, noted Weiss. “Next, comes the organizing and building process, with our target date of sometime in November 2007 for getting on the air."


If you are interested in finding out how you can help KPFZ, contact Andy Weiss, 274-2152 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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LAKEPORT – A Kelseyville man will spend the next four years in prison for failing to register as a sex offender.


Charles Henry Sparks Jr., 40, was sentenced to four years in state prison June 22 for failing to register as a sex offender, according to Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine, who prosecuted the case.


Sparks has been required to register pursuant to Penal Code section 290 since he was convicted of rape in 1995, according to DeChaine.


On April 6, Sparks pleaded guilty to one felony count of failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of Penal Code section 290, DeChaine reported.


Failing to register as a sex offender carries a maximum prison sentence of three years; however, Sparks also admitted to having served a prior prison term, thereby enhancing his prison commitment to a maximum of four years, according to DeChaine's report.


Sparks had been out of custody on bail of $15,000 prior to June 29, reported DeChaine, when he was sentenced and remanded into custody.


Judge Richard Martin presided over the taking of the guilty plea as well as the June 22 sentencing hearing, DeChaine noted, and Det. Mike Curran of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.


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LAKEPORT – After five years, numerous trial reschedulings, one trial that ended in a hung jury and another that stretched over the past nine weeks, it took a jury just an hour and a half to convict a Clearlake man of a 2002 murder.


The jury in the trial of Edward James Munoz, 26, accused of the 2002 murder of Leah Leister, came back with a guilty verdict at 3 p.m. Wednesday, reported Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.


Munoz was accused of the March 11, 2002 murder of the 26-year-old Leister, a single mother whose body was found in her Clearlake apartment.


Munoz pleaded not guilty to the crime, as Lake County News previously reported.


Hinchcliff said Munoz stabbed Leister 16 times, cutting her throat several times as well. “When he finished that, he duct-taped her hands together and her feet together,” said Hinchcliff, who has been with the case since its beginning five years ago.


Hinchcliff said Munoz initially told investigators that he was ordered to kill Leister by Nortenos gang leaders out of Pelican Bay State Prison because she was stealing drugs from the gang.


But at trial, Munoz changed that story and claimed he was lying initially, said Hinchcliff.


Speaking of the trial, Hinchcliff said, “It was a frustrating, long, tiresome ordeal.”


The same can be said of the entire process that led to this point.


Munoz has been in custody in the Lake County Jail since April 2002. Hinchcliff said there were numerous changes of attorneys, either at Munoz's request or when attorneys chose to leave the case. The result was that his trial was rescheduled 13 times before it finally started in Judge Arthur Mann's courtroom last fall.


George Boisseau, a private criminal defense attorney from Santa Rosa, came to defend Munoz, and was the man at his side during last year's trial, which ended on Oct. 11 in a hung jury, 11-1, over the issue of Munoz's guilt.


Boisseau was again at the defense table for the retrial, which Hinchcliff said started jury selection on April 24 and began two weeks later. During the past nine weeks, Hinchcliff estimated he called about 20 witnesses to the stand, some testifying for as few as 15 minutes, some for a day or longer.


This time, the jury came back in short order with a conviction, finding Munoz guilty of first degree murder with a special gang allegation. “The jury was firmly convinced of his guilt,” Hinchcliff said.


Munoz's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 27, although Hinchcliff said it's a date that likely will be changed.


“There's a good chance that it's going to take probably about four months to get him sentenced just because of motions the defense is likely to file and we'll have to respond to,” said Hinchcliff.


Among those, Hinchcliff expects Boisseau will file a motion for a new trial.


Munoz, however, is not facing the death sentence, said Hinchclif, who explained that the District Attorney's Office is instead seeking life without the possibility of parole.


Death penalty cases, said Hinchcliff, must meet certain statutory guidelines, including multiple homicides or the murder of a peace officer, and a defendant's extensive prior criminal record. “It was our opinion that this case didn't satisfy the factors, so we were not seeking the death penalty.”


Going through the retrial process, Hinchcliff said, “My main concern was for the victim's family and her mother, and how frustrating it was for her.”


Leister's family wanted closure and for Munoz to be held accountable for the crime. “Finally, that's done for them.”


Next, the family must decide if they'll give victim impact statements at Munoz's sentencing, said Hinchcliff.


Munoz's conviction brings with it another tragic backstory. His older brother, Richard Munoz, is currently serving a 25-years-to life sentence for a murder that took place in the late 1990s. Retired Clearlake Police Captain Ron Larsen said Richard Munoz, while still a juvenile, cut the throat of a 14-year-old boy at Clearlake Commons Apartments.


This isn't the first case that Hinchcliff has seen to a conclusion after years of delays and investigation. Last summer, he won a murder conviction in the case of Paul James Smiraglia, 47, who was found guilty of murdering 43-year-old Diedre Coleman in July 2002. The jury in that trial, which lasted about a month, also returned a verdict quickly, deliberating only two hours.


Hinchcliff said he has some other homicide cases to prepare for, and will next go to trial in a home invasion burglary case Sept. 5.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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LAKE COUNTY – The Employment Development Department's latest report shows that Lake County's unemployment rate dropped in May.


Unemployment dropped to 7.2 percent, down 0.6 percent from April, according to a report from Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast Region.


While down from April, that 7.2-percent rate is still up from May 2006's 6.6 percent, Mullins reported.


California's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for May was 4.9 percent, according to Mullins, while the nation's was 4.3 percent.


Surrounding county rates included 8.5 percent for Glenn, 11.5 percent for Colusa, 4.0 percent for Sonoma, and 5.2 percent for Mendocino, noted Mullins.


Lake County's unemployment rate ranked it 39th out of the state's 58 counties.


Marin ranked No. 1 with the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent, Mullins reported. Imperial County had the highest at 16.2 percent.


Total industry employment grew by 190 jobs (1.3 percent) between May 2006 and May 2007, according to Mullins, ending the year-over period with 15,330 jobs.


Year-over job growth occurred in the following categories: farm; natural resources, mining and construction; information; professional and business services; private educational and health services; and government.


Year-over job losses occurred in manufacturing, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality.


Industry sectors trade, transportation and utilities, and other services had no change over the past year.


The farm sector led industry gainers for the year-over period adding 70 jobs and government – which includes federal, state and local agencies – gained 60, Mullins reported.


In looking at employment numbers, Mullins explained that as a sub-sector of government, local government represents about 90 percent of Lake's total government employment and consists of agencies such as public schools, the community college, tribal administrations (includes casinos), special districts (includes fire, water sewerage), and city and county governments.


Public schools account for about 40 percent of Lake's local government employment, he added.


Other industries that added jobs: natural resources, mining and construction, and private educational and health services each added 40; professional and business services and information were up 10 jobs each.


Leisure and hospitality led industry sector decliners for the period shedding 20 jobs, Mullins reported, while financial activities and manufacturing each dropped 10.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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The Angora fire, looking west from Lira's Market in Meyers. Photo by Mike Guarino.

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – With the Angora fire still endangering South Lake Tahoe, firefighters from here in Lake County are at the fire now, working to contain it.


The fire, which broke out Sunday, has burned 3,100 acres south of Lake Tahoe and east of Fallen Leaf Lake, according to the US Forest Service's Incident Information System.


So far, 251 homes have been destroyed and three people injured, the US Service reported. The fire is 55-percent contained, with containment expected July 3.


On scene are 164 engines, 51 crews, 21 helicopters, four dozers and 15 water tenders, staffed by an estimated 2,174 personnel.


The fire is under federal jurisdiction, which means fire resources from National Forests have been called from around the state.


Hinda Darner, a fuels technician with the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, said Thursday that the district sent and engine and a hand crew – consisting of about 20 people – to the Angora fire. The group left at the beginning of the week, she said.


The Upper Lake district is rating fire danger as high, especially with the big weekend and the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, said Darner. During that time, she said, “We get a lot more public use and campfires.”


Darner said the district has a responsibility to make sure they have enough resources, which means not sending off more firefighters than they can spare.


So far, 32 firefighters and logistical personnel and five from the Mendocino National Forest have gone to work the Angora Fire, said Punky Moore, a spokesperson for the forest's main office in Willows. The forest employs a total of 260 staff – including firefighters – during the summer season.


Moore said some of the personnel who had gone to Tahoe already have returned from the fire. There was a “big push” to contain the fire on Wednesday, Moore said. The Forest Service reported that fire crews on Wednesday night increased efforts to secure firelines around the fire's perimeter.


During the “ramp up” period of a fire, when it's just getting under way, Moore said it's important to get as many people on scene as you can. Now, however, the effort appears to have reached its peak.


“At this point we're not sending more people unless more orders come in,” Moore said.


A report from the Cal Fire Command Center noted that Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit has sent a total of five engines manned by 20 personnel, plus a hand crew strike team – consisting of another 30 firefighters – to work the Angora fire. However, they don't anticipate sending any more because no new orders for crews have come in.


Cal Fire is an important responder on many fires, as seen in the Westwind mobile home park fire early Wednesday morning.


Lake County Fire Protection District Chief Jim McMurray reported that Cal Fire's staffing remains strong in Lake County, which is important as the local fire season ramps up. “It hasn't been real bad yet, but it's starting very early,” said McMurray, who noted that the weather is much drier much earlier.


McMurray is hoping things will “stay quiet,” as they approach the July 4th holiday, when fireworks are a problem.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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SACRAMENTO – The amended version of Sen. Patricia Wiggins' bill to address the light brown apple moth's arrival in California passed the Assembly Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.


Wiggins introduced the bill last month, which originally proposed to create a task force to advise state Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura on the apple moth. The task force, which Kawamura would choose, would then submit a report to him by Sept. 1.


The bill passed the Senate by a 35-1 vote on May 29.


Since its introduction into the Assembly, Wiggins has amended the bill to give agricultural commissioners and the state the tools they need to eradicate the pest, according to a statement from Wiggins' office.


The light brown apple moth has so far reached nine California counties, as Lake County News previously reported. The latest report from the California Department of Food & Agriculture says that 4,292 moths have been found in those nine counties, with trapping activities continuing in 50 counties statewide.


“I said when I introduced SB 556 that it was a work in progress, intended to reflect the needs of the state in this situation,” Wiggins said in a written statement. “This bill will fully reflect the nature and scope of the effort to detect, control and eliminate the moth as a threat to California agriculture.”


The amended bill, called the Light Brown Apple Moth Act, calls for additional staffing and logistical support geared towards eradication.


New aspects of the bill include:


– Creation of the “LBAM Program” within the Department of Food & Agriculture, requiring Kawamura to provide appropriate levels of staffing and logistical support for eradication.


– Establishes an “LBAM Account” within the Department of Food & Agriculture Fund, and requires that funds be made available for the purpose of eradication.


– Requires the Department of Food & Agriculture report to the Legislature annually, beginning January 10, 2008, regarding its expenditures, progress and ongoing priorities in combating the moth.


– Contains an urgency clause that puts it into effect immediately should Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sign the bill into law.


The light brown apple moth was discovered in the Bay Area in February. It's known to damage as many as 250 host plants, fruits and trees.


Since its discovery in California, state and federal quarantines have been implemented to stop the pest spreading any farther.


One light brown apple moth was found in Napa County in May. Earlier this month, state and federal officials began eradication treatments in Napa and Contra Costa counties, using an organic insecticide in the hopes of protecting the state’s $38 billion agriculture industry.


David Miller, Wiggins' spokesman, said the bill may return to the Senate for approval of the amendments. He said Wiggins is hopeful that SB 556 will get to the governor’s desk soon.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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SACRAMENTO A key Senate committee on Tuesday passed a bill by Patty Berg that would protect Californians from the kind of red tape snafus that slowed the flow of emergency aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.


“Californians do not need red tape during disasters,” said Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka. “My bill will prevent this by allowing doctors and nurses to help Californians in their time of need.”


Under Assembly Bill 64, California officials would recognize out-of-state medical licenses of emergency volunteers during a declared state emergency. The bill would establish a system where California medical professionals can also register their credentials so they can help fellow Americans in other states.


During the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, volunteer doctors and nurses were prevented from giving aid because they did not have Louisiana or Mississippi medical licenses. One such volunteer, Robert Edinger, told the Lexington Herald Journal that he was unable to help Hurricane Katrina victims on the gulf coast because he lacked a Mississippi nursing license.


“We must prevent the horrors of red tape during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort from happening in California,” said Berg. “Californians must never wait entire days or weeks for help when it is a life and death situation.”


Assembly Bill 64 is part of a national effort to create a national registry where medical professionals, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists and members of the funeral home industry can help in other states besides their home state. Kentucky and Colorado have enacted similar legislation.


The California Nurses Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the California Association of Physician Groups, the California Dental Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the California Society of Health System Pharmacists, the California Federation for Animal Legislation, the California Professional Firefighters Association, and the Regional Council of Rural Counties support the bill.


The Senate Governmental Organization Committee voted unanimously in favor of AB 64. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.


Visit Berg's Web site at http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a01/.

 

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WASHINGTON – The day after three dozen members of Congress from Oregon and California called for an investigation into Vice President Cheney's role in the death of 80,000 spawning salmon, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee announced he will hold a hearing.


In response to a letter by 36 Democratic members of Congress, among them Rep. Mike Thompson, Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) released the following statement:


"This Committee has already begun examining the penchant for this Administration to favor politics over science in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, which was highlighted during a May 9th hearing and in the resignation of the Interior Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks over the fiasco.


"In light of the revelations being made over the situation in the Klamath River Basin, it is my intention to again convene the Committee to delve into the issues raised by the Members of Congress from California and Oregon. It certainly appears this Administration will stop at nothing to achieve political gain from natural resources disasters. Ultimately, it will be hardworking Americans and their healthy environment that will lose if we fail to act."


The request by West Coast Democrats came after a Washington Post investigative report found that Vice President Cheney instigated the damaging water policy that resulted in the largest salmon kill and fishing disaster in our nation's history.


The Post indicates that Cheney manipulated scientific evidence in order to win votes from farmers who would benefit from the diversion.


"I am pleased that Chairman Rahall is committed to getting to bottom of the vice president's involvement," said Thompson. "The courts found that this water policy was in direct violation of the Endangered Species Act, and the American public should know if their vice president caused science to be manipulated for petty political gain."


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WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, 37 members of Congress from California and Oregon, including North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson, called for congressional hearings on Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in the political decision that killed 80,000 spawning salmon.


They made this request to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) after a Washington Post investigative report found that Cheney pressured mid-level bureaucrats in the Department of Interior to divert water from the Klamath River Basin for political gain.


"We've known since 2002 that the Bush Administration manipulated science in a perverse and petty attempt to win votes," said Thompson. "Now it appears that this manipulation goes straight to the top. Despite what he may think, Vice President Cheney is not above the law and not above Congress' oversight. We want a thorough investigation of his involvement in the largest salmon kill and fishing disaster in our nation's history."


In 2002, the Interior Department diverted water from the Klamath River Basin to farmers in Oregon, resulting in the death of 80,000 adult salmon.


The Washington Post reports that Vice President Cheney called for the damaging water policy to secure the farmer's votes, despite scientific evidence that it would endanger two federal protected species of fish, a violation of the Endangered Species Act.


Thompson and others brought a lawsuit against the Administration in 2002, and three courts found that the water diversion was "arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Endangered Species Act."


In the letter to Chairman Rahall, the members of Congress wrote, "The ramifications of that salmon kill are still being felt today as returns to the Klamath River are so low that commercial, sport and tribal fishing seasons have been curtailed for the past three years. In fact, last year's commercial fishing season for all of California and Oregon was cut by over 90 percent, and was the largest commercial fishing closure in the history of the country, causing over $60 million in damages to coastal economies."


"Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of Vice President Cheney choosing political gain over the health and welfare of the American people and our natural resources," added Thompson. "It's time the vice president is brought out of the shadows and held accountable for his actions."


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WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Congressman Mike Thompson joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in opposition of efforts to expand domestic offshore oil and gas drilling.


As they do each year, proponents of offshore drilling attempted to lift the current congressional moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) through amendments in an appropriations bill.


Thompson and his allies criticized this proposal as dangerous and unnecessary, and they urged their colleagues to vote against them. The amendments will be voted on in the next few days.


"Lifting the moratorium on new drilling could result in disastrous economic and environmental consequences," said Thompson. "Yet it will do nothing to reduce our dependency on oil and gas."


The moratorium on OCS drilling has been a bipartisan agreement in Congress for 25 years, and it has been renewed annually since 1982.


However, the moratorium has come under regular attack, which is why Thompson recently introduced a bill to permanently protect the North Coast from drilling.


The Northern California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act (H.R. 2758) will permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.


"California's North Coast would be especially vulnerable if the moratorium was lifted," added Thompson. "Drilling off the North Coast would threaten our marine life and cause our local economy to suffer."


The North Coast is part of a unique upwelling zone, one of only four in the world. These zones support incredibly abundant and productive marine life, which local fishing communities depend on.


The North Coast also supports a large tourism industry vital to local and state economies that is dependent upon its pristine cove and beaches and spectacular views.


"Every year, there are attacks against the moratorium, and I'm afraid that one day it might be lifted," said Thompson. "An oil spill off our beautiful North Coast would be devastating. My bill will make sure that never happens."


On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will review Thompson's bill.


Watch Rep. Mike Thompson speak on the House floor: http://recap.fednet.net/archive/Buildasx.asp?sProxy=80_hflr062607_062.wmv,80_hflr062607_063.wmv&sTime=00:02:42.0&eTime=00:00:37&duration=00:02:55.0&UserName=anne%252E&sLocation=&sExpire=1.


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