Follow Science on Salmon Plan
by Glen Spain
Register Guard, October 15, 2008
Critics call for public and private money investment in rail lines, dam locks
While the controversy surrounding the financial disaster rages, let's not forget that salmon, which used to generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the Northwest, are in crisis now almost every year.
This week, U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley announced his support for science-guided salmon recovery, including at least the option of removing the four lower Snake River dams if the science deems it necessary.
The four dams are expensive and deadly for salmon, and the small amount of power they produce can be replaced with truly clean energy. The politically biased salmon policies of the Bush administration already have cost the region $8 billion, and yet salmon are no better off today than they were 20 years ago. Yet, if federal agencies have their way under their recycled salmon plan, the region will continue the same failed policies of the past -- and lose more fish and more tax dollars along the way.
While many Northwest members of Congress were, thankfully, quick to stand up for disaster money for fishermen, they have yet to solve some of the underlying problems that cause those disasters in the first place. The four lower Snake River dams are a prime example. Merkley's announcement is great news for fishermen, and it means that at least some politicians are looking at repudiating the failed salmon policies of the past and actually solving these problems.
It's time to be smarter on salmon and follow the science, not political expediency and a policy of endless delay.
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