Roly-Poly Fish HeadsRoving Eye
Boise Weekly - August 2, 2000
It should, after all, be no surprise that the Clinton/Gore Administration refused to press on with breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River. What could you expect? They had to count the votes in the Northwest and if fish could have been polled, maybe they wouldn't have chickened out.
Local environmental groups were not afraid to lash out. In a press release from July 19, Bill Sedivy of Idaho Rivers United predicted that if the present course isn't changed, "Idaho's spring/summer chinook populations will be erased by 2017, with many populations gone within the decade."
Gore issued his own statement, which sounded mysteriously like it had been ripped from the Idaho GOP playbook, complete with a mealy-mouthed poke at his opponent. "Governor Bush should stop playing politics with this issue. Sound science must govern here -- not political scare tactics. Saving the imperiled salmon is one of the most difficult enviromental challenges our nation has faced. I have consistently said that extinction is not an option and neither is severe economic dislocation . . ."
Sedivy thinks they're just playing it safe in an election year. "It is inexcusable that the Clinton/Gore Administration would put politics in front of sciencs when determining the fate of Idaho's magnificent fish."
Caught in the middle of the whole thing is the Sierra Club. Despite the fact that it has called for the dams to come out, it voted over the weekend -- after the announcement -- to endorse Gore.
"Nobody is perfect," said Roger Singer, director of the local chapter.
It seems the Sierra Club is willing to put itself behind Gore because of his support for protection of roadless areas, prevention of urban sprawl and preservation of national monuments -- though Singer said the Sierra Club is "disappointed" about the Administrations decision to sit on its hands.
No, the Sierra Club is behind Gore because Bush has an environmental record in Texas sort of like China's record on human rights. It stinks.
"At least they're (Gore) keeping it on the table. Bush has flatly refused to even consider it," Singer said. The endorsement was given after 40 chapters were polled and 39 gave the nod. Singer started to say the Sierra Club was backing the most enviro-minded candidate then stepped back and noted it was behind the most viable enviro-minded candidate. While Ralph Nader has done more to protect the American public from a wide array of environmental dangers -- you could even consider a highway an environment of sorts -- he's still, unfortunately, a long shot.
Despite the hemming and hawing by Clinton/Gore, Singer said the Sierra Club will be persistent. "We will continue to push for that issue (dam-breaching) into the next administration and hopefully that will be a Gore Administration."
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