Big Win for Salmonby Staff
Idaho Mountain Express, April 11, 2007
Salmon and their dogged supporters won big this week in a court ruling that rebuked the Bush administration for what amounts to pure deceit for not enforcing the letter and spirit of the Endangered Species Act by hiding behind a policy the court called "analytical sleight of hand."
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Federal District Judge James Redden's 2005 ruling that the Bush administration's "biological opinion" evaluating the effect of dams on salmon but ignoring the four dams on the lower Snake River is illegal. The court suggested the White House won't find any sympathy short of going to the U.S. Supreme Court, if then.
Just how devious is the White House policy toward salmon? The court cited the administration's insistence it doesn't need to improve the lot of salmon, only keep numbers stable.
"Under this approach," Judge Sidney Thomas wrote for the court, "a listed species could be gradually destroyed, so long as each step on the path to destruction is sufficiently modest."
Time and public patience is running out for Idaho politicians and businesses that would play fast and loose with the survival of salmon. Washington gobbledygook cannot conceal the fact that the four lower Snake River dams are killing the species and that the remedy is breaching the dams.
The human environment is suffering incalculably every day because of the White House's stubborn refusal to acknowledge global warming and the poisonous effect of industrial and automotive emissions. Perhaps, in this instance, the court's decision may help reverse the destruction of marine habitat and a cherished fish species that will be doomed if the grim reality of the salmon's plight continues to be ignored.
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