Congress Considers Changing
by Dan Barth
Clarkston, WA -- A Congressional field hearing in Clarkston, Washington debated the future management of dams on the Snake and Columbia River Systems along with possible changes to the Endangered Species Act.
The hearing was staffed by members of the House Committee on Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. This comes one week after Federal Court Judge James Redden, struck down the Bush Administrations plan for the dams, saying it ignores salmon recovery.
The hearing included testimony from the Washington State Farm Bureau, the Yakama Tribal Council, the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee, the Potlatch Corporation, the Northwest Sports Fishing Industry Association, and various regional govenment officials. Some members of Idaho's congressional delegation want the Endangered Species Act changed because they claim it's failed.
Congressman Butch Otter (R) Idaho, who attended the hearing, acknowledged that salmon are an important part of the northwest, but he blamed environmental groups for forcing lawsuits that have brought financial burdens on farmers and industry. Although Otter said that lawsuits have forced those financial burdens, he along with other members of Bush Administration plan to ask for an appeal of Redden's ruling.
"Tough as the Ninth Curcuit has been on us in some cases. I think that Redden is way off base on this and I think that even the Ninth Circuit would see that," said Rep. Butch Otter (R) Idaho.
Judge James Redden will hold a public hearing June 10th in Portland to discuss alternative ways to protect salmon.
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