Lacked Objectivityby Leigh Winowiecki
Lewiston Tribune, June 12, 2005
I was very disappointed to witness the lack of objectivity and diversity in the both the U.S. House of Representatives' subcommittee on Water and Power as well as their invited speakers to testify at today's congressional hearing on the breaching of the four Snake River dams [June 6]. To begin, the opening statements of each congressman and woman echoed one another, with no dissenting opinion presented. They stated how they need to "bring common sense to the endangered species act" (Radanovich, R-Calif.) and "overhaul the Endangered Species Act for economic vitality" (Otter, R-Idaho).
Unfortunately, these politicians are not scientists, are not qualified to perform the stated tasks, nor do their comments reflect the most current scientific research. Equally upsetting was the lack of diversity on the panel of people chosen to testify. With the exception of the excellent representative from the Nez Perce Tribe and Mr. Lewis from the Yakama Nation, no science or ecology was mentioned. Instead, speakers voiced blatant opinions of local businesses and city commissioners. There was no mention of the extensive scientific data on the Endangered Species Act, salmon, water quality or stream ecology for the Snake River basin.
The Snake River (more accurately, reservoir) system is socially, environmentally and economically complex. It's time to realize that if we truly want constructive results, all sides must talk and listen to one another. In addition, the most current scientific knowledge must be considered. And finally, we need to have objective representation on the U.S. House of Representatives' subcommittee.
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