On Salmon, Bush Just as Hostileby Editors
Idaho Mountain Express, September 3, 2003
When endangered wildlife and the polluted environment were besieged by a who-cares culture of abuse, disgusted Americans took a sharp turn and demanded urgent rescue of their most cherished natural treasures.
But an who-cares culture is back in force, with the prestige of President Bush behind each decision turning back the clock and returning wildlife and the environment to rapacious, laissez faire behavior that industry enjoyed in generations past.
Now that he’s assured cronies in energy production they won’t be required to install serious pollution controls, Bush has turned his cold indifference to the Northwest’s salmon problem, using doublespeak to anesthetize unthinking voters into a state of dreamy contentment.
During his Aug. 22 hurried come-and-go photo-op appearance at Washington state’s Ice Harbor Dam, the president seized on an upward tick in the number of salmon returning from the Pacific Ocean as proof that salmon are making a comeback despite Snake River dams that impede their migration.
Reporters noted the irony of the president making such an absurd claim while posing as a friend of the environment at a dam that for 39 consecutive days had violated water quality standards with fish-killing excessive temperatures because pooled water cannot flow.
Salmon populations have deteriorated for decades--in the 1800s, anywhere from 5 to 9 million salmon a year returned to the Snake and Columbia rivers. The average in recent years has been 400,000.
Thousands die each year because of the man-made "solution" to avoiding breaching the dams to remove the slack water problem--barging them to the open sea during which they die of stress in the tanks.
The obvious and urgent solution supported by credible scientific and economic data is to breach four lower Snake dams and return salmon and Northwest electricity consumers to previous conditions that benefited everyone.
Hostage as he is to the energy industry’s closed-door policymaking influence on the White House, the president revealed his true motives in shrugging off salmon protection.
"We don't need to be breaching any dams that are producing electricity," he said.
Patient, charitable Americans are slow to react.
However, once it sinks in that President Bush is callously, relentlessly green-lighting industry to foul the air again and just as coldly turning his back on salmon and other wildlife, they’ll demand an alternative to Bush Jr.’s role as the 21st century’s greatest friend of environmental destruction.
Future generations will spend years rescuing wildlife and the environment--along with trillions of dollars in Bush-created debt--from the edge of disaster.
Industries that face future new controls to remedy their abuses will deserve every painful new regulation they avoided through Bush Jr.’s acquiescence to their demands
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