Crapo Wants Salmon Money for Idahoby Associated Press
The Spokesman Review, May 16, 2002
LEWISTON -- Republican Sen. Michael Crapo is pressing ahead to divert some of the cash earmarked for Northwest salmon recovery to projects in Idaho.
"Let me make it clear," Crapo told his colleagues on Capitol Hill, "we will not have regional anadromous fish recovery unless Idaho receives federal funding in amounts proportional to the rest of the Pacific Northwest."
Crapo testified this week on his bill to expand the Pacific Salmon Recovery Fund to include Idaho. The fund is available to Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Indian tribes. Alaska and Washington claim the lion's share of the money.
Idaho has never had access to the money, which underwrites habitat restoration, screening for water diversions, hatcheries modernization and maintaining stream flows during fish migration.
Crapo has the support of Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, as well as fellow Idaho Republican Larry Craig and Oregon Republican Gordon Smith.
But the bill faces opposition from Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who is worried his state will lose funds if the money is divided further.
Stevens is also opposed to a portion of the bill that gives preference to salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act. He said the money is intended to deal with issues under the Pacific Salmon Treaty with Canada and not as a mechanism for endangered salmon recovery.
"Idaho may have some claim to those funds because they are the spawning grounds for the Washington salmon that was covered by the Pacific Salmon Treaty," he conceded but only agreed to find another source of cash for the state.
Crapo acknowledged that financing Idaho and other states through a separate program might prove appropriate but emphasized that his approach would not reduce the support any other state currently receives.
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