Judge's Actions on Salmon Case
by Editorial Board
Judge James A. Redden has taken a heavy-handed approach throughout this judicial process. He seems to want to legislate from the bench.
What is the best way to ensure the survival of Columbia River salmon?
Ask that question to a large room filled with experts who have meticulously looked at the science for years -- even decades -- and you are likely to have as many answers as there are experts.
Yet, U.S. District Judge James A. Redden is confident he has the right answer. If not, why does Redden continue to put his views above those of scientific experts in his rulings on federal plans to balance salmon survival with the generation of hydropower.
Redden has twice rejected federal salmon-saving plans and is giving a clear sign he will strike it down again. He also continues to threaten to take drastic action. Redden clearly has some issues with dams -- as in wants to see them taken down.
Last week Redden denied a motion for an independent scientific review of the latest government plan to protect salmon, saying he first wants to determine if the plan is flawed and to fix it if it is.
How can Redden make such a determination? Is he an expert or does he have some special god-like powers?
Redden certainly gives that impression. He has taken a heavy-handed approach throughout this judicial process. He seems to want to legislate from the bench.
Redden warned last year he would remove the federal government from the task of finding a way to balance the fish and dams and turn it over to an independent panel.
Perhaps it is Redden who should be removed from this case. He seems to come to the table with so many biases that he doesn't give federal officials a fair chance to succeed.
U.S. Department of Justice attorney Coby Howell said federal agencies held more than 200 meetings with interested parties since Redden rejected the 2006 plan. The government listened as it never had before, Howell said.
Crafting a workable plan that will save the salmon is important to the nation, and in particular the Pacific Northwest. The latest plan is supported by government agencies and some tribes.
Breaching the dams has to be a consideration only as a last resort.
Those dams are critical to the economy of the region. They also produce power -- cheap, renewable power.
Redden's view of this issue has been tainted by his past actions and bluster.
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