Breaching a Possibility, Bradley Saysby Jim Camden
Spokesman Review, February 25, 2000
Democrat headed to Spokane, touches on Northwest issues
Breaching federal dams on the Snake River to save endangered salmon runs is a possibility -- but only after Northwest states have more say in the debate, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley said Thursday.
The former New Jersey senator said that, as president, he would encourage the states and Indian tribes to study ways to address the problem of declining fish runs and to reach agreement on a solution that meets Endangered Species Act requirements.
"If the states arrived at that conclusion (to breach dams), I would consider it," Bradley said.
Even if the states decided the dams should not be breached, he would not necessarily rule out that option, Bradley added.
"I'd have to get the full report at the time," he said. "I'd ultimately have the final decision, but what I want to do is involve the states much more in the process."
Bradley, who is concentrating his campaign on Washington state through next Tuesday, discussed several regional and national issues in an interview Thursday with The Spokesman-Review.
He'll attend a public rally with a question-and-answer session Saturday morning at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane and visit locked-out Steelworkers on the picket line near Kaiser Aluminum's Mead smelter.
By spending six days in the state, Bradley said he hoped to boost his vote totals in Tuesday's primary. But he won't drop out of the race if he loses the primary to Vice President Al Gore.
"I don't have to win Washington," Bradley said. "We're behind here, and if we do better than expected, I think that can give us a boost going into Super Tuesday."
That's what many people are calling March 7, when California, New York and four other states will hold primaries and Washington state Democrats will hold caucuses to select delegates for their presidential nominee.
On agricultural issues, Bradley said he would not support a proposal to lift all sanctions against the sale of American food and medicine to hostile foreign countries. U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Spokane Republican, has suggested that embargoes on those items be lifted, as an economic boost to farmers and a humanitarian gesture to other nations.
But Bradley argued that embargoes only affect a small percentage of exports, so removing them wouldn't necessarily give farmers a substantial boost in sales.
"I think we should make the judgment on a case-by-case basis, not for all countries as a policy," Bradley said.
The 1996 Farm Bill should be restructured to provide some subsidies for family farmers as a safety net when prices are low, he said. The law, known as Freedom to Farm, eliminates subsidies in exchange for removing federal regulations on farmers.
"I think the Freedom to Farm Act ended up being a major mistake," he said. "The question is, what happens when times are bad?"
Subsidies should not be available to large corporate farming operations, he added.
On defense issues, Bradley said he would support increases in pay and benefits for people in the military, but doesn't have a figure he would propose. He said he would eliminate some new weapons programs, such as the F-22 fighter, to pay for the raises.
He also said the nation needs to close more military bases, and would set up another commission to study which should remain as a way to take the closures "out of politics."
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