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Carlson Opposes Breaching Snake Dams

by Jim Camden
Spokesman Review, March 31, 2000

Republican candidate also says he's against extending jobless benefits for Kaiser union workers

During his first trip to Spokane as a candidate for governor, John Carlson vowed this week to fight any attempt to remove federal dams on the Snake River.

"Washington state's position on breaching the dams is going to be: They're staying right here," said Carlson, a Seattle radio talk-show host and syndicated newspaper columnist who is seeking the Republican nomination. "We're not going to (restore salmon) at the expense of the people who live in the lower Columbia Basin."

Rather than removing dams to help restore salmon runs, Carlson said, state and federal officials should find other ways to improve habitat, reduce the number of fish caught in the ocean and renegotiate fishing treaties with Canada.

"I don't think there has been any leadership from the governor's office on this issue," Carlson said.

Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat seeking re-election, also opposes breaching. Sandi Snell, communications director for the Governor's Salmon Recovery Office, said the state has spent the last several years working on some of the very things Carlson mentioned.

"It's not simply enough to say `we oppose breaching dams,"' Snell said.

Locke has directed the heads of all state departments that affect some part of salmon recovery -- from Agriculture and Ecology to Health and Transportation -- to work together in a joint natural resources Cabinet, Snell said. Locke believes salmon runs can be improved with better hatcheries, improved habitat and reductions in the commercial fish catch.

A leader of several successful state initiative campaigns, Carlson is considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination with the withdrawal of former state party Chairman Dale Foreman of Wenatchee. Republican state Sen. Harold Hochstatter of Moses Lake also is running.

On other topics, Carlson said he would not support extended unemployment benefits for union workers locked out of Kaiser Aluminum. Instead, he said, as governor, he would invite union and management leaders into his office to try to break the labor impasse.

Carlson also contended he could find as much as $1 billion a year for road projects by contracting out services now performed by state workers.

And he said he would push for charter schools -- optional facilities that are free of many state requirements -- to improve education.

Jim Camden
Carlson Opposes Breaching Snake Dams
Spokesman Review, March 31, 2000

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