A Salmon Plan for Rural Idahoby Steven Bruce
Idaho Statesman - June 5, 2003
Western leaders emphasize need for cheap power
The four Northwest governors are scheduled to meet today in Boise to discuss Snake River salmon and steelhead.
This meeting is happening because U.S. District Judge Thomas Redden ruled a month ago that the current federal plan to restore these salmon and steelhead is illegal. He ordered the Bush administration to rewrite the plan by May 2004.
Redden said the rewrite must address two issues. First, the original plan relied too much on measures that don´t focus on the primary problem for Idaho´s salmon — the federal dams and reservoirs in the lower Snake River. Second, the original plan contained too many measures the federal government could not guarantee would ever occur.
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Idaho´s members of Congress, as Republicans, should be major players in influencing the administration´s rewrite.
On behalf of Idaho´s economy, communities, and future, here´s what our governor and delegation should tell President Bush:
An example of how valuable salmon can be to rural economies can be found in the recently released report, The Economic Impact of the 2001 Salmon Fishing Season in Idaho, prepared for the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation. That study, based on data collected by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game from anglers, found:
Gov. Kempthorne must insist on this as a first principle, because it is not where the administration or its agencies are headed now. In court, the administration argued that all it must do is keep Idaho salmon and steelhead from going extinct, not restore them to harvestable levels. The governor and delegation must insist that this policy be changed.
Gov. Kempthorne should make the main purpose of today´s meeting the creation of a solid, enforceable plan (with enough funding to make it happen) that restores abundant and harvestable wild salmon to Idaho´s great rivers and streams.
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