Crapo says Fish Recovery must Tackle Economy, Tooby Patrick Orr
The Idaho Statesman, February 23, 2001
Saving steelhead and salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest will not happen until all the states can agree on a plan that protects the fish and the economy at the same time, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo told the Boise City Club on Thursday.
He also said that California or any other entity that wants access to the region's cheaper power rates should have to share the financial burden of steelhead and salmon recovery.
Crapo called federal fish-recovery policies poorly developed and said that breaching dams would throw the region into "political strife."
Regional governments have to collaborate on a recovery plan and investigate alternatives to breaching, Crapo said.
"It's a political fact. We can't breach the dams today," Crapo said to a lunch crowd at the Rose Room. "The uproar would be so immense we would not be able to do it."
But Crapo said governments should be preparing now to deal with the economic impact of breaching. "We as a region must make a commitment to save these fish," Crapo said. "We need to make improvements to the main-stem passages.
"I am hopeful we can improve the main-stem passage without breaching the dams. I realize that is a very hopeful statement, but I believe we have to try."
Crapo told the crowd that his viewpoints probably sounded repetitive and joked that speaking about salmon recovery in public was like putting a red bull's-eye on his chest.
He said the region was so dependent on the Snake and Columbia rivers for power, recreation and agriculture that a clear decision on how to protect the fish "defies solution."
He also said the demand for Pacific Northwest power in California makes salmon recovery efforts more difficult.
Crapo is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Endangered Species Act.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo - (R-Idaho)
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