Larry Craig Versus the Salmonby Editors
New York Times, December 12, 2005
Small wonder Senator Larry Craig was once touted as "legislator of the year" by the National Hydropower Association: the Idaho Republican has just shown how galvanized he can get on behalf of the Northwest power dam industry by slipping a sentence into a budget bill that would choke off financing for the hard-working federal agency that counts endangered salmon in the Columbia River.
For years, the Fish Passage Center has been tolling the decline of salmon as they fought their way around federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. This agency has supplied vital and entirely neutral information in the endless struggle between environmentalists and the power industry.
Earlier this year, a federal judge was so exasperated at a ludicrous administration proposal that the dams should take precedence as "immutable" parts of nature that he ordered that more water be spilled over the dams to ease the salmon's passage to the ocean and survival. The decision alarmed the hydropower industry, and, sure enough, its legislator of the year sprang into action, deleting the fish center's $1.3 million in funding from a budget bill. Senator Craig, whose election campaigns enjoy a sluiceway of donations from electric utilities, denounced the worthy agency on the Senate floor as a source of "false science" and "data cloaked in advocacy."
The crestfallen manager of the center offered the best defense of the work done by its dozen biologists and computer scientists. "What we do is just math," she told The Washington Post. "Math can't hurt you." Surely, in the final budget compromise, House negotiators will strike a blow for common sense and stand up for plainly endangered math as much as salmon.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs