Gorton Still Doesn't Want to Know
by Editorial Board
Sen. Slade Gorton says the Clinton administration's intransigence has caused him to withdraw language that would prevent studying whether four Snake River dams should be breached to assist salmon recovery.
We'd hoped it was because Gorton had decided to rely on science in deciding whether the dams eventually go or stay. But he apparently still prefers not to know.
Gorton said "It became clear during last-minute negotiations that the White House would threaten to hold up Congress" if his prohibition on the dam-breaching studies remained in the Interior appropriations bill.
Gorton has vowed that as long as he's in the Senate, the Snake River dams will not be breached. His Democratic opponent, Maria Cantwell, says she doesn't favor removing the dams either. There's not a state politician whose livelihood is affected by breaching who does favor it.
Nonetheless, if scientific studies could definitely show that the only hope of saving endangered salmon is to remove the dams, it would be difficult to escape a mandated breaching.
The Clinton administration wants to keep breaching open as an option if other recovery measures fail. If we mean to save salmon, that's only prudent. Besides, who's to know in advance that studies won't show that breaching won't help save salmon after all?
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