Elected Leaders in NWby Rob Masonis
The velocity of salmon recovery in the Snake and Columbia rivers has not only been slowed by the Bush administration, we're rapidly backsliding toward extinction (Mark Trahant's Dec. 12 column). But Trahant goes too easy on the Northwest's elected leaders, who must stand up now against the administration's assault on our salmon, salmon-dependent businesses, and our quality of life.
The Northwest's congressional delegation and state governors should demand a real plan that recovers salmon runs to self-sustaining, fishable numbers and revitalizes local economies. Think of it as a matter of regional pride -- are we going to roll over and let the Bush administration destroy the things that make our home so special? Are we going to give in to the myth that we have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong economy or are we going to stand up and demand both?
The region is not going to give up on wild salmon. Residents of the Northwest understand that recovering wild salmon is about more than just the salmon; it is about protecting the health of rivers and the quality of life of this and future generations. But recovering wild salmon requires bold steps, such as removal of two dams on the Elwha River that will happen in 2008, and bold steps require leadership.
The creative solutions on the Elwha can inspire other river-restoration efforts across the region -- but not if the administration continues to gut salmon-recovery efforts, and not if our elected leaders fail to take a strong stand.
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