the film
Commentaries and editorials

If You Hate Message,
Kill the Messenger

by Editors
Idaho State Journal, July 1, 2005

It was not Idaho Senator Larry Craig's finest moment.

Craig was irked because U.S. District Judge James Redden issued a ruling requiring the Bush administration to spill additional water over four hydroelectric dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers to help young salmon migrate to the sea.

So Craig is trying to kill the agency that tallies survival of salmon as they swim back upstream in the Columbia Basin. The language Craig had inserted into an energy spending bill would eliminate the Fish Passage Center, an 11-person agency in Portland. It is that small agency which collects and analyzes data documenting how effective the government's multibillion-dollar effort to save the salmon has been.

And it was data from that agency that convinced Judge Redden to order the spill of water over the dams.

No data, no problem, in the view of Craig and other Republicans who claim spilling the water rather than running it through turbines will cost Northwest power customers about $67 million. That figure is challenged as much too high by fish advocates, but Craig thinks there is an excessive amount of money being spent on fish and wildlife recovery, whatever it is.

Craig and another Idaho Republican, Sen. Mike Crapo, are fond of saying that we must use science to determine the best way to preserve precarious salmon runs. But when the science doesn't agree with their point of view, as in the case of Judge Redden's ruling, then the science must be flawed, right?

The entire annual budget of the agency which Craig wants to kill is just $1.3 million. But it's not the money, it's the message, apparently. And if you disagree with it, kill the messenger.

If You Hate Message, Kill the Messenger
Idaho State Journal, July 1, 2005

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