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Enviros Cut Noses to Spite Own Faces

by Staff
Ag Weekly, September 20, 2003

We are truly disappointed by a play for Idaho water by Idaho Rivers United and the Idaho Conservation League, in an unwise feint toward their ultimate goal of breaching Snake River dams.

Those organizations have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue over what they claim is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. At issue is the Bureau of Reclamation's failure to meet target flows in the salmon recovery project.

The plaintiffs appear totally indifferent to the reality of three years of drought in Idaho. They seem to ignore that "target" flows, legally, are just that. There isn't a mandatory day-to-day or even year-to-year quota in the order that guides salmon recovery.

It appears that those two organizations -- along with their big-time allies, the National Wildlife Federation and America Rivers -- are seizing the opportunity of short water years to claim some ground and push their ultimate goal.

We see that as unfortunate, to say the least. To their credit, Idaho Rivers United and the Idaho Conservation League generally have been willing to discuss resource management and to seek consensus. These two groups established themselves as serious but reasonable activists, more concerned with accomplishing a goal than merely winning or creating havoc.

Before this foray into extortion, these groups acted as rational partners. Now, they seem to be turning to blackmail, threatening a lawsuit that would drain Idaho's reservoirs of much-needed irrigation water in exchange for support in breaching the dams.

They also seem to miss the fact that sending all of Idaho's water down the river, into Oregon and out to sea, is counter to their objectives of protecting and preserving Gem state waterways and habitat.

They have clearly stated that they have no intention of going ahead with the lawsuit if groups that have opposed breaching will switch sides and join their initiative. Those groups will not be swayed, and with a presidential administration that makes no bones about preserving the dams, we can't see where the enviros' tactics will serve them in the least.

In fact, it seems they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Respect for these groups and the consensus building of the past has taken a huge hit. It will be difficult for them to regain that ground.

Enviros Cut Noses to Spite Own Faces
Ag Weekly, September 20, 2003

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