Salmon Advocates Threaten Idaho Water,
by Jennifer Sandmann, Times-News writer
TWIN FALLS -- Environmentalists' pursuit of more Upper Snake River water for salmon poses a serious threat to Idaho water users, the executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association told local business people Tuesday.
Norm Semanko's explanation of why Idaho water users are riled over salmon was juxtaposed with a favorable economic forecast at the D.L. Evans Bank annual economic luncheon.
While salmon advocates have withdrawn a 60-day notice of intent to sue for more Idaho water during the 2004 irrigation season, their actions in federal court in Oregon have led Idaho water users to draft their own 60-day lawsuit notice.
Some of Idaho's major water users belong to the Coalition for Idaho Water, which is working "to defend this plot to take Idaho water," said Semanko, an attorney.
Environmentalists challenged the federal government's Columbia River Basin salmon recovery plan in federal court in Oregon and won. How the government will revise the plan is now before the judge. Salmon advocates want the Upper Snake River Basin water incorporated into the overall recovery plan, but Idaho water users want to keep their water at a distance.
While the drought has stoked debate over Idaho water, economic indicators offer a brighter future at home.
John Hurley, an economics professor at the College of Southern Idaho, shared signals of economic recovery continuing at least into the first quarter of the coming year.
"The pot's on the stove, and it's starting to cook," he said.
Tuesday's host, former Idaho Gov. John V. Evans Sr., president of D.L. Evans Bank, announced that two new bank branches will be open in Meridian and Ketchum by the end of the year. The bank that originated in Albion and today is based in Burley will then have a total of 14 branches throughout Idaho. D.L. Evans plans to continue to expand, Evans said.
The D.L. Evans Bank fourth annual President's Luncheon and Economic Outlook was held at the Red Lion Inn in Twin Falls.
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